No time to celebrate 1,000th game after exhausting win


Al Rayyan, Qatar — Lionel Messi He says he will not be celebrating his personal milestone of reaching 1,000 professional matches after helping Argentina for one 2-1 victory over Australia in the Round of 16 at the World Cup, but instead admits that his overwhelming emotions were relieved by coming through a physical test 48 hours after the final group stage match.

Messi, 35, scored Argentina’s first goal against the Socceroos with a stunning first-half strike. Julian Alvarez They then doubled the lead in the second half, but Argentina were held in check in the final period of the match as Australia scored and threatened a late equaliser.

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The match came just two days after they lost poland in their final match of the group stage to secure their place in the knockouts.

Messi was again in inspired form, and was named player of the match. But despite reaching yet another career milestone, and Diego Maradona’s World Cup tally of eight goals crossedMessi is not recognizing this personal achievement.

Instead, he is happy to have come through a physical test so soon after his last match.

Messi said after the match, “I am very happy to have taken another step forward, to have achieved another objective.”

“It was a very strong and tough match – we knew it was going to be this way. We didn’t have much time to relax and we were worried because we knew it was going to be a physical match and they Very strong.”

Asked on Argentine TV whether he was going to celebrate his 1,000th match, Messi replied: “No, not really. It was a tough game, tough game, we didn’t have much rest, we really Didn’t recover well. It was also a very physical game.

“When we found out we had to play again in three days we said it was crazy and not enough rest, but at the same time we wanted to be here to see how it feels and what it represents and for our fans.” Is.”

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Australia coach Graham Arnold said his players did well to contain Messi, but in the end, his class shone through.

“He’s incredible,” Arnold said. “One of the greatest players ever. We tried really hard not to be in awe of him, because he’s a great player. But wow, he’s 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.”

For Argentina the focus has now shifted to the World Cup quarter-finals against Netherlands On 9 December.

“Today we saw their match [against the United States]said Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni.

“Perhaps they don’t play as beautifully as the previous Dutch teams – but they have strong points and weaknesses which we will try to use. It will be a beautiful game with two historic national teams. We hope that we will qualify “

Argentina will be keeping a close watch on the fitness of several of their key players ahead of the Dutch. papu gomez Sprained ankle against Australia but is confident of it angel de maria He is fit again after recovering from a quad injury.

Scaloni said, “Hopefully Di Maria will be able to play, he was not fit today.” “When he’s on the bench there’s always the temptation to bring him on, but I don’t think we’ve helped anyone by bringing him on. We hope he can keep developing and have a place in the next game.”

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