Emiliano Martinez fell to the ground after Lautaro Martinez converted the winning penalty before getting to his feet and running toward the Dutch bench to insult his opponents.
The Argentina hero was caught on camera yelling abuse at a Dutch manager after his side’s penalty shootout victory in the quarter-final.
“Keep your mouth shut you f***ing t***! I f***ed you twice,” said Martinez.
His vitriol was directed at Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who spoke ahead of the game about how confident he was that his team would win if it went to a penalty shootout.
Martinez said he took a screenshot of Van Gaal’s words and sent them to his psychologist.
“It lit the dynamite,” Martinez said.
“In soccer, I learned that people do their talking on the field. They said a lot of stupid things before the game … That made me stronger.”
Speaking about Van Gaal in particular, Martinez said: “I think he needs to keep his mouth shut.”
Martinez didn’t stop there. He doubled down his criticism on the performance of Spanish referee, Antonio Mateu, saying he “was giving everything for” the Netherlands them.
“He gave 10 minutes (of stoppage time) for no reason, he gave them free kicks outside the box two or three times,” Martinez said. “He just wanted them to score. That’s basically it.
“I hope we don’t have that referee any more. He is useless.”
In an interview to the Spanish broadcaster, Martinez said that Mateu Lahoz was “crazy, the worst referee of the tournament, he is arrogant.
“You say something to him and he talks back to you badly. I think since Spain went out he wanted us to go out as well.”
In his post-match interview on Dutch TV, van Gaal was also unhappy about the referee, especially the award of a penalty that lead to Argentina’s second goal.
“We were 2-0 down due to a dubious penalty in my eyes,” said van Gaal. “I want to see that reason for the penalty again. They did a lot of time-wasting. I didn’t like the referee, but we didn’t lose because of the referee.
“We came back, but still screwed it up after penalties. And the players have been practicing (penalties) at their clubs all year long.
“I asked them to take penalties because as a coach I want to have everything under control. But, as I also once said during a press conference, you can’t simulate it.”
Martinez made diving saves off penalties from Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis in a 4-3 shootout win over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals on Friday, after the match finished 2-2 after extra time.
“I couldn’t help the boys by making a save in the first 90 minutes,” Martinez said, “but I had to help them there.”
Former Argentina right back Pablo Zabaleta also laided Martinez for his role in saving his side in regular time, then in the shootout.
“Emi Martinez, a hero,” he said.
“We praise Messi, but Martinez is a hero. It’s always good to see a South American team in the semi-final. The fans have been amazing tonight, right behind the team.
“All Argentina games, three quarters of the stadiums have been Argentinian fans. It makes me really proud. Qatar is far from Argentina, it is not easy to get here!”
It’s not the first time he has led Argentina to victory in a shootout.
Last year in the Copa America semifinals, the Aston Villa goalkeeper opted for an unconventional, controversial strategy before stopping shots from Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona as Argentina won 3-2 on penalties.
As Colombia’s players got ready to take their kicks, the 30-year-old Martinez confronted them.
“I am sorry, but I will stop you, bro,” Martinez yelled before he saved from Sanchez.
“You’re laughing because you’re nervous,” he then told Mina. “I know you.”
Argentina went on to beat Brazil in the final to end a 28-year wait for a major title.