FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Argentina 2-1 Australia in last-16 clash

Argentina advanced to the World Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over Australia, led by Lionel Messi. Messi celebrated his 1,000th senior game with a measured finish late in the first half, and Mat Ryan’s blunder allowed Julian Alvarez to double the lead early in the second.

Argentina beat Australia by 2-1

Argentina had late scares after Craig Goodwin’s shot deflected in off Enzo Fernandez, and it took a spectacular tackle from Lisandro Martinez and a brilliant stop from Emiliano Martinez to keep them in the game. Graham Arnold’s team put up a valiant attempt and may be happy of their tournament performance, but Messi and Argentina will meet the Netherlands in the last eight. Argentina is not always a fluent team, but with the little genius on the team, they can dream.

Also Read: Netherlands 3-1 USA in last-16 clash

Aziz Behich may come to regret confronting Messi. A rare piece of pressing from Argentina’s captain forced the left-back to square up to him and then give up a reckless free-kick shortly after. The game was altered. The objective followed. Once ahead, Argentina introduced Lisandro Martinez and went back to a three-man backline, like they had done when leading Mexico. It was a cautious approach, but Lionel Scaloni seemed determined to learn from the loss to Saudi Arabia in the first game.

Also Read: Argentina beat Poland 2-0 to set up last 16 clash with Australia

Once Ryan erred, there seemed to be little chance of a recurrence. His erroneous attempt to dribble between Alvarez and Rodrigo de Paul cost him the game. Alvarez took him away from Manchester City. But there was a twist as Goodwin’s wild effort was deflected in off Fernandez. The game loosened up, and Messi carried it to the next level, twice setting up Lautaro Martinez, only for the striker to squander the chances. Surprisingly, this almost proved costly because Australia had opportunities as well.

Also Read: Lionel Messi & Enzo Fernandez score in crucial win for Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Behich embarked on a mad dash that almost resulted in an equaliser, only for Lisandro Martinez to stop his effort at the last second. And, with the game’s final kick, Newcastle United teenager Garang Kuol had a shot well saved by Argentina’s goalkeeper.

Also Read: Argentina isn’t out of the World Cup, but it’s a tough start for Lionel Messi

What a show. But it was Messi who ended up smiling.

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