Messi scores and Argentina advances to the World Cup quarterfinals

Lionel Messi was thrust into the middle of a joyous post-match gathering as Argentina’s players jumped up and down to celebrate reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.

Messi delivered again for his country, marking the 1,000th game of his era-defining career with his first goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup to lead Argentina to a 2-1 victory over Australia on Saturday.

However, this was not the step-up most expected against the unheralded Aussies.

At the final whistle, Argentina was as grateful for their goalkeeper as the number 10 with magic in his boots.

Emi Martinez came up with a great save in the dying seconds of an increasingly eager match to avoid the need for extra time and the potential for another scare in a World Cup full of them.

“That’s the World Cup for you,” Messi said. “All matches are difficult and the important thing is that you win.”

With a touch of his famous left foot in the 35th minute, Messi put Argentina ahead with his third goal of this year’s tournament and ninth overall in the World Cup, one more than Diego Maradona.

“Wow, it’s just remarkable,” Australia coach Graham Arnold said.

Julián Álvarez pounced on a hard touch from Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to tap into an empty net for the second goal, but this was no cruise to a quarter-final encounter with the Netherlands.

Australia’s comeback in the last 20 minutes was as moving as it was unexpected. Craig Goodwin’s shot deflected into the net of Argentinian midfielder Enzo Fernandez in the 77th. Then, amid a late air blitz from the Australians, Garang Kuol had a great chance when he went free at the far post. Shot on the turn, his shot was stifled by Martinez and two Argentina players fell on top of their keeper from both relief and happiness.

Read Also:  University demonstrations challenge the Milei government in Argentina

“Before we came here, people were saying we were the worst World Cup team and the worst Socceroos team of all time,” Arnold said."that’s gone now".

On the only other occasion Australia reached the round of 16, in 2006, the team lost to eventual champions Italy.

Perhaps it bodes well for Argentina, which has fully recovered from its shock loss to Saudi Arabia in its opening group match and has won three straight games.

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here