Lionel Messi Leadership ArgentinaEntered the quarter-finals of the World Cup by helping them secure a 2–1 win against Australia on Saturday.
In his 1,000th career match, Messi scored the opening goal with a spectacular effort, before Julián Álvarez scored in the second half to set up a quarter-final tie against Barcelona. Netherlands and knocked Australia out of the tournament, as the Footballers were unable to build on their lucky late goal.
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“I’m very happy to have taken another step forward, to have scored another goal,” Messi said. “It was a very strong and tough match – we knew it was going to be this way.
“We didn’t have much time to rest and we were worried because we knew it was going to be a physical match and they were very strong. Luckily we found the goal and we were one goal ahead, and then two were ahead.
“And then we got hit with the goal – but that’s the World Cup after you, the matches are tough and we got to win.”
Despite Argentina’s firepower, Australia managed to limit the early proceedings, allowing neither side to exert any dominance.
But the Socceroos defense crumbled in the 35th minute as Messi showed his undeniable quality to score his first goal in the World Cup knockout stage.
Paris Saint Germain The forward began the move with a darting run down the right – a quick exchange of passes landed him inside the box before he unleashed Matt Ryan’s left-footed curling shot.
“He [Messi] is incredible. Australia boss Graham Arnold said, “We are one of the greatest players ever.”
“But wow, he is remarkable. I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona, and now coaching against Messi – they are both amazing players and Argentina should be proud and happy to have players of that caliber.”
Buoyed by the overwhelming support, Argentina consolidated their quarter-final 12 minutes after half-time. rodrigo de paul A pounce on a slack touch by Australia goalkeeper Ryan allowed Alvarez to slot into an empty net, doubling his team’s lead.
A triple substitution for Australia on 72 minutes prompted a desperate last roll of the dice by manager Arnold and he was handed a lifeline when his own goal enzo fernandez 13 minutes from time their deficit was halved.
Craig Goodwin latched on to a loose ball outside the box and fired a fierce first-time effort which saw Fernandez take a huge deflection, fooling the goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and hitting the back of the net.
With renewed optimism, aziz behich came close to leveling the game three minutes later as he launched a spectacular darting run, beating four Argentine defenders and eventually failing Lisandro Martinez in boxes.
Despite his wishes, a return to Australia did not materialize and manager Arnold was full of praise for his impressive performance in the tournament.
“They are extremely disappointed – it’s not every day you get to play the third best country in the world and play players like that,” he said.
“I thought we did a good job. I wanted to say how proud I am of them and the sacrifices they made through the campaign. Everyone said we were the worst football team ever before we came here and Were about to qualify for the World Cup.” – but he’s gone now – we’ve done exceptionally well.”