World Cup star Emiliano Martinez has been sent a warning message that referees will be on guard following his antics in Qatar. The Argentina goalkeeper threw the ball away twice during the penalty shootout in the final of the competition against France. He was booked on the second occasion but Les Bleus ended up missing both the spot kicks as Argentina lifted the trophy for the first time since 1986.
Martinez’s warning has come from former Premier League referee Howard Webb, who succeeded Mike Riley to become the professional game match officials board chief refereeing officer on Boxing Day.
“You get to penalties and think the job’s done,” Webb told the Daily Star. “It’s been mentioned there was some behaviour the referee should have picked up on earlier. I imagine he (Martinez) wouldn’t have done it a second time if he’d been penalised on the first occasion.
“There’s always learning to come out of everything. I was told years ago about the management of penalty shootouts – and taking control of the ball so those mind games can’t be played. That’s something we will maybe reiterate to our people as a reminder on the back of what we saw there.”
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After spending time celebrating his country’s success back in his homeland, Martinez is set to return to Premier League action on Sunday when Aston Villa travel to Tottenham. The Villans are 12th in the table after winning only five of their 16 top-flight matches. Spurs, meanwhile, are fifth and will be desperate to pick-up the three points as they look to keep pace with the top four.
Martinez, who joined Villa from Arsenal in a £17million deal in 2020, is likely to come up against Hugo Lloris in north London. Lloris was in the opposite net to Martinez in the World Cup final but was unable to save any of the penalties he came up against.