Lionel Messi produced a second of trademark high quality to attain the opener in a 2-1 win over Australia and ship Argentina into the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday. Messi’s 789th purpose in his 1,000th profession look — however first within the knockout rounds of the World Cup — helped arrange a last-eight conflict with the unbeaten Netherlands on Friday. Julian Alvarez scored the opposite within the 57th minute after some calamitous Australian defending, earlier than Enzo Fernandez’s 77th-minute personal purpose arrange an unexpectedly nervy finale. Now 35, probably the greatest gamers of all time is looking for to win the match for the primary time in what’s going to absolutely be his remaining World Cup.
Messi’s stylish first-half purpose, bending the ball into the underside nook, broke the resistance and finally the hearts of a gutsy Australian aspect who defied all expectations in Qatar and went down combating.
Australia’s yellow-shirted followers had been vastly outnumbered among the many packed crowd on the 45,000-capacity Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and had been drowned out by Argentina’s boisterous, bellowing and bouncing supporters.
Back in Australia, the place followers had a dawn begin in the event that they wished to catch the sport dwell on tv, the Sydney Opera House was lit up in inexperienced and gold.
Their aspect had been enormous underdogs — few at house had anticipated them to get even this far on the match — however this has been a World Cup of shocks.
Two-time champions Argentina had been the sufferer of arguably the most important shock in Qatar after they went down 2-1 to Saudi Arabia of their opening match.
But there could be no repeat right here.
Argentina had Australia pinned again however the Socceroos had been resolute and rising in confidence as an uninspiring first half wore on.
Messi was getting pissed off, tussling with Australian defender Aziz Behich on the sidelines.
Argentina and their coach Lionel Scaloni badly wanted one thing particular and in Messi they acquired it 10 minutes from the break.
Alexis Mac Allister fed defender Nicolas Otamendi, who was nonetheless within the field for an Argentina free-kick, and he miscontrolled it into the trail of Messi who bent the ball left-footed alongside the bottom into the nook.
It was Argentina’s first shot heading in the right direction.
– Ryan blunders –
Australia had solely acquired this far as soon as earlier than, in 2006, and so they wanted to return out and assault within the second half.
Instead, they self-destructed. Goalkeeper and captain Mathew Ryan tried to play out underneath fierce stress in his field from hard-running Rodrigo De Paul simply earlier than the hour and was dispossessed by Alvarez.
The Manchester City striker, 22, nipped in, stole the ball from Ryan and swivelled to fit into an empty web for his second purpose in as many video games. Arnold thumped his dugout in frustration.
The Socceroos appeared lifeless and buried however substitute Goodwin latched onto a unfastened clearance and his shot hit Fernandez and ricocheted in with 13 minutes left.
Behich then went on an excellent mazy run from left-back, beating three Argentina gamers earlier than Lisandro Martinez made an important last-ditch problem.
Teenager Garang Kuol then pressured Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez right into a determined save deep in damage time earlier than the massed ranks of South American followers celebrated an enormous win.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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