Emi Martinez warned over Premier League ‘mind games’ after World Cup wind ups

World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez has been warned against playing penalty ‘mind games’ in England.

The message comes from new referee supremo Howard Webb after the Argentinian keeper threw the ball away – twice – during his country’s World Cup final shoot-out victory over France. Martinez escaped a yellow the first time he did it and, having forced French midfielder Aurelian Tchouameni to retrieve the ball, then saved the subsequent kick.

Although he went into Polish ref Szymon Marciniak’s book second-time round, it was too late for France as Argentina held on for a controversial win on penalties. Webb believes the Villa ace, who on Sunday faces a Premier League reunion with Spurs’ French keeper Hugo Lloris, should have been booked immediately.

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And he has pledged that English top-flight refs will be on their guard for any stoppers attempting to use such underhand antics. PGMOL chief refereeing officer Webb, who succeeded Mike Riley on Boxing Day, declared: “You get to penalties and think the job’s done.

“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 shoot-outs – 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.”

Meanwhile, Webb has revealed he would welcome an in-stadium VAR app that keeps supporters across reviews as they happen. The former MLS supervisor, 51, who retired as a top referee here in 2014, said: “It’s a really important point.

“Globally, the area we have had least success collectively is keeping the in-stadium audience informed. At a game, as a fan, you are probably the person with the least information. This needs to be addressed.

“Of course, an app needs good network capabilities inside the stadium when you have 50,000 people there. That can be a problem.”


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