Emiliano Martinez explains why Argentina have ‘advantage’ in World Cup final
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has acknowledged that many people will view France as the favourites for this Sunday’s World Cup final – but insists La Albiceleste have an advantage that will give them the edge in the contest.
Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to book their place in Sunday’s final, while France saw off a spirited Morocco side after defeating England in the quarter-finals.
While many fans and pundits are backing Les Bleus to become the first team to win consecutive World Cups since Brazil in 1962, Aston Villa stopper Martinez believes the presence of Lionel Messi could give his side the edge in Sunday’s clash at the Lusail Stadium.
Speaking to reporters in the build-up to the match, Martinez said: “People may say France are the favourite, but we have an advantage having the greatest player of all time.”
Martinez was of course referring to Messi, who at the age of 35 has rolled back the years in Qatar with a series of scintillating displays.
The PSG forward is tied with France’s Kylian Mbappe in the race for the golden boot with five goals, while he also sits joint-top of the assists leaderboard with three.
Having already confirmed this will be his last World Cup, Messi will be determined to end his Argentina journey with the greatest honour of all and the only trophy to elude him thus far in his distinguished career.
England will be considered failures if we don’t win Euro 2024
England defender Harry Maguire has revealed he will head to Euro 2024 with the mindset that anything less than winning the competition will be a failure.
The Three Lions have cemented their status as a strong tournament team over the last half-decade under the guidance of Gareth Southgate.
After reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2018, England were only denied victory at Euro 2020 on penalties against Italy in the final.
There were high hopes that they could go all the way at the 2022 World Cup over the winter, but were narrowly beaten by reigning champions France in a hard-fought quarter-final.
England kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win at Italy, and speaking to the press post-match, Maguire revealed his ambitions for glory in Germany next summer.
“I think for me, at my age as well, 30 years old now, I’m with a mindset of, ‘If we don’t win the tournament, it’s been a failure’,” he said.
“We’ve got to qualify first – I mean it’s a tough group, [but] we’ve come here and got an amazing result.
“But that’s my mindset. I’ve been at three major tournaments now and I’ve come so close. I believe we have the players to win it. We went into Qatar wanting to win the tournament. So ultimately, when we get knocked out, as a squad we’re disappointed. The performances were good, we kept the most clean sheets at the tournament, we were one of the top goalscorers despite going out in the quarter-final.
“I’m speaking on behalf of myself but I know from speaking to the other lads as well, they were really pleased that Gareth stayed [on as manager]. We’ve built something as a group and he’s been the leader of it. He’s been the one who’s given us hope and given us belief as a country to be successful in these major tournaments and, for sure, it benefits us for us for him to be in charge.
“These big tournaments are decided on the finest margins. We played really well in the World Cup and ultimately, we got knocked out by a good French team. A French team that we believe we can take on and if we play them ten times, we would give them a good game ten times and probably win more than we lose.
“However, they’ve proven over the years that they manage to get the job done better than England do. So it’s something that we’re working on. We have so much talent and so many young players coming through.”
Maguire recognised that England were simply beaten at the 2022 World Cup by a more experienced and successful international side in France.
Despite reservations over Didier Deschamps, the 54-year-old has an incredible tournament record – to have won one final and lost two others is a far better record than most other coaches in the history of football.
England hope to be on a similar path with Southgate, but as Maguire insisted, they need to win a tournament if they’re to be remembered fondly and without tinges of regret.
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