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Messi hails Martinez after Argentina make it to Copa America final

Emiliano Martinez - Argentina
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The goalkeeper became a national hero by making crucial saves in the shoot-out to get Albiceleste get over the line against Colombia.

Lionel Messi hails Emiliano Martinez as a “phenomenon” following his heroics for Argentina in the Copa America semi-finals.

Argentina vs Colombia was forced into penalty shootouts, with the scoreline tied at 1-1 after 120 minutes of action. Lautaro Martinez had handed his side the lead inside the first seven minutes of the game before Luis Dias had equalized deep into the second half.

Martinez saved three of Colombia’s five shots from the spot to book a place for his side in the finals against reigning champions Brazil.

Such was the goalkeeper’s impact that he was paid tribute by teammate Messi, who is most often than not the standout performer for his side.

“We have Emi, who is a phenomenon,” said the FC Barcelona forward, via Goal. “We trusted him.

“We achieved the goal of being able to play all the games and now we are going to the final.”

Argentina boss Luis Scaloni was also impressed by his No.1 and mentioned him in his post-match press conference.

“We are very happy with Emiliano’s performance, not only because of the penalties but also because of the security that he is transmitting,” Scaloni said.

“The group of defenders is permanently supported and we like that.”