Argentina take on Netherlands in the quarter finals after beating Australia 2-1 in an entertaining game of football that saw Lionel Messi score a goal in his 1000th appearance for Argentina.
Argentina are the third ranked team in the world, behind only Belgium and Brazil. Australia are ranked 38th in the world and have been impressive having qualified to the round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup making it their 5th appearance in a world cup.
The two teams have met a total of seven times with the South American giants, Australia have won on just one occasion, that success coming in their very first encounter back in 1988.
Argentina came into the match against Australia as the favorites, having won their group and emerging as one of the strongest teams in the tournament after a shaky start losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opening game.
The Australians, on the other hand, were surprise qualifiers to the round of 16 beating Denmark and Tunisia 1-0.
Australia started the game very compact and were difficult to break and by the 20th minute Argentina had only had one attempt on goal and no shots on target.
In the 35th minute however , Argentina finally got the breakthrough after a free-kick on the right side came to no avail, Messi received the ball again just inside of the box and put it past the Australian keeper.
The goal was of great significance as it marked Messi’s 1000th appearance and first goal ever in the knockout stages. It was also his 9th World cup goal one more than the legendary Diego Maradona.
The second half just got more difficult for the Australians as they failed to pose a threat going forward and in the 57th minute a back pass from the Australian defender to the goal keeper was intercepted by Julián Álvarez who then put the ball in the net to make it 2-0.
In the 64th minute Messi had a solo attempt on goal which did not fructify. The Argentines continued to put pressure on the Aussies and by the 67th minute Australia still had no shots on goal and Argentina having 68% ball possession.
Just when you thought that Australia didn’t look like a side that were trying to come back into the game in the 77th minute Craig Goodwin took a shot at goal which was deflected into the net making it 2-1.
The Aussies continued to push for the equalizer but it was too late as Argentina held on to their lead and advanced to the Quarter Finals with a 2-1 victory.
This win further boosts Argentina’s confidence as they move on to the quarter finals.