Lionel Messi He produced a signature moment in the 2-1 win over Australia, scoring in the opener and taking Argentina to the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday. Messi scored his 789th goal in his 1,000th career game – but first in the knockout rounds of the World Cup – to help lift the undefeated Netherlands into the last eight on Friday. Julian Alvarez scored another goal in the 57th minute after some disastrous defense for Australia before Enzo Fernandez’s own goal in the 77th minute set the tone for an unexpectedly tense finale. Now 35, one of the best players of all time is looking to win a first-ever tournament in what will surely be his last World Cup.
Messi’s brilliant first-half strike, which slid the ball into the bottom corner, broke the resistance and eventually defeated a brave Australia who defied all expectations and went down in battle in Qatar.
Australian yellow jersey fans far outnumbered the packed crowd at the 45,000-capacity Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium and were overwhelmed by the rowdy, shouting and bouncing supporters of Argentina.
Back in Australia, if fans wanted to watch the game live on TV, they could start before sunrise, with the Sydney Opera House lit up in green and gold.
Their team were huge underdogs – few at home expected them to get this far in the Championship – but it was a shocking World Cup.
Two-time champions Argentina fell 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opening match and were arguably the victims of Qatar’s biggest shock.
But I won’t repeat it here.
Argentina pinned Australia at the back but the Socceroos were firm and confident following a lackluster first half.
Messi depressed, scuffles with Australian defender Azizbehi on the sidelines.
Argentina and their coach Lionel Scaloni desperately needed something special and in Messi they got it 10 minutes after the break.
Alexis Mac Allister Hi Defender Nicolas Otamendihe still took a free-kick for Argentina in the penalty area, but he controlled the ball in the path of Messi, who left-footed the ball along the ground and into the corner.
This is Argentina’s first shot on target.
– ryan misses –
Australia have only gone this far once before 2006 and they need to strike in the second half.
The 22-year-old City striker sprinted in, took the ball away from Ryan, turned and scored an empty net, his second goal in as many games. Arnold thumped his dugout in frustration.
The Socceroos looked lifeless but substitute Goodwin grabbed a loose gap and his shot hit Fernandes and catapulted into the net with 13 minutes remaining.
Behich then started a superb labyrinth of runs from left-back, beating three Argentine players before Lisandro Martinez makes a vital last-ditch effort.
Teenager Garang Kuol then forced a desperate save from Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in stoppage time before a throng of South American fans celebrated a big win.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from syndicated feeds.)
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