Lionel Messi will be fit and raring to go for Argentina in Sunday’s World Cup final, team-mate Emiliano Martinez has said.
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi was in sensational form as La Albiceleste defeated Croatia 3-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final in Qatar, scoring the opener from the penalty spot and assisting Julian Alvarez’s second after a dizzying run.
There were some concerns for Argentina supporters when Messi clutched at his hamstring during the early stages of the contest.
But goalkeeper Martinez is confident it was just the toll of accumulated minutes, with Argentina having required extra time and penalties to defeat the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
“No, no [he’s not injured],” Martinez said.
“We played 120 minutes against Holland, it was a hard game for him, but you can see he wants to finish every game. Physically he’s really good and he’s man of the match every game.”
Argentina’s run to the final was fraught with difficulty after they were stunningly beaten by Saudi Arabia in their opening group game.
Indeed, it needed some genius from Messi to inspire a 2-0 win over Mexico in their following match, a result that sparked Lionel Scaloni’s men into life in Qatar.
Martinez is of the opinion everyone outside of Argentina wanted to see them fail in that fixture.
“I can’t believe it we lost the first game all of sudden everything was upside down we lost the 36-game unbeaten run,” the Aston Villa keeper added.
“Mexico the first half was a bit sloppy everyone wanted us to lose, everyone wanted us to lose. We’re all fighters and we’ve got 45million Argentinians all behind us.
“We feel the crowd on the streets every time we play we feel like we are at home we are so happy to have them.”
Argentina will face the victor of the semi-final, which pits defending champions France against surprise package Morocco.
Martinez has no preference over who they face in the showpiece fixture.
“They both had an incredible run they both different teams both really whoever comes it’s a World Cup final and know it’s going to be hard,” he said.