AL RAYAN, Qatar ( Associated Press) – A thousand games, a goal and qualifying for the World Cup quarterfinals.
In a dream night for their captain Lionel Messi, Argentina beat Australia 2-1 on Saturday and will next play against the Netherlands, an old acquaintance they last met in 2014.
Julián Álvarez signed the second Albiceleste goal early in the second half, but coach Lionel Scaloni’s team lost in the final stretch after an Enzo Fernández own goal.
On 35 minutes at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, Tendulkar left his left foot and the ball slipped between the legs of defender Harry Soutar, who is 1.98 meters tall at this World Cup, before hitting goalkeeper Matthew Ryan’s right at the post.
“It was a difficult day. We had very little rest time,” Messi said, pointing to the short two-day break between the last game of the group stage and the start of the second round. “We didn’t recover well. It was a very physical match. Happy to get this win and take another step forward.
On reaching a thousand official matches as a professional – he made his debut with Barcelona in 2004 – Messi scored his third goal in Qatar to beat Diego Maradona to nine goals in five World Cups. Messi, 35, was one of the marks of striker Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina’s top scorer at the World Cup.
In his fifth World Cup, Messi finally scored a goal in the knockout matches.
Shortly after the start of the second half, the Australian goalkeeper tried to play under pressure from Argentina’s Rodrigo de Paul and did not notice the presence of Julián Álvarez, who stole the ball and cut in with a half-goal shot with his right foot. . , It was the Manchester City attacker’s second cry of the tournament.
Australia struck back in the 77th when Craig Goodwin’s left-footed run ended in Fernandez’s own goal.
For the fourth game in a row, Argentina did not repeat the team. Forward Angel Di Maria, who had to leave with a hamstring strain in the win against Poland two days earlier, did not recover and was replaced by Alejandro Gomez.
Scaloni’s team had a monopoly on the ball, but it was not easy for them to break down the Australians who were waiting for them, back in their own zone. The absence of a Juventus winger reduced his imbalance on the wings and at times he abused irrelevant lateral passes.
Angered, Messi demanded his teammates advance down the field to force the opponent’s mistake. Minutes later, “Flea” would break up the monotony of the match with one of its classic definitions.
Just after completing their 10th game in the World Cup, Argentina found a second goal thanks to a poor start by goalkeeper Ryan. Raouls played with the captain, who tangled with the ball instead of throwing it under pressure from De Paul. Alvarez smelled blood and sent Bill.
Australia, who were coming off two unbeaten victories on their field to equal their best ever performance in a World Cup – the round of 16 in Germany 2006 – found themselves back in the game with an own goal from Fernandez.
And Argentina continued to oxygenate him with goals wasted by Lautaro Martinez, the attacker who lost to Alvarez in a 2-0 win against Poland that allowed them to finish first in Group C.
The Socceroos had one last in injury time when a point-blank shot from youngster Garang Kuol was checked by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
“I think we could have punished him,” lamented Messi. He scored a rebound for us. Perhaps, having removed the last one covered by Dibu (Martinez), we are not suffering too much”.
La Albiceleste, champions of 1978 and 1986, will play the Netherlands – they beat the United States 3-1 – on Friday at Lusail Stadium for a place in the semi-finals.