Seven time FIFA World player of the year, Lionel Messi scored the opening goal in the 2-1 win against the Socceroos’ of Australia in the second Round of 16 clash at the ongoing FIFA World Cup tournament.
Earlier in the day, the Oranje of Netherland defeated USA 3-1. Goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries made sure the Netherlands would be heading into the quarter-finals.
Lionel Messi scored a beauty to put the Argentines ahead before Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez doubled the advantage in the second half. Australia’s consolation came when a shot was deflected off Enzo Fernández into the Albiceleste goal.
On the day Messi brought up 1,000 career appearances – 169 of them for Argentina, he also inched closer to making another piece of history for his country.
Messi’s opener saw him surpass Diego Maradona and Guillermo Stabile’s tallies of eight World Cup goals. Only Gabriel Batistuta (10) has now outscored Messi when representing the country at the tournament.
The win now means Argentina will face the Netherlands in the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup.
Argentina dominated the early exchanges and looked promising.
Messi, Marcos Acuna and Julian Alvarez were impressive but there was no clear cut chance for the team to convert.
With 35 minutes gone, Messi darted inside from the right wing to latch onto Nicolas Otamendi‘s lay-off before planting a neat side-footed finish beyond the despairing dive of Ryan.
Messi saw an effort deflect into Ryan‘s arms as Argentina chased a second after the restart, but the goalkeeper was at fault as Argentina doubled their lead with 57 minutes gone.
Ryan inexplicably tried to dribble his way out of trouble when pressed by Rodrigo De Paul and Alvarez, and the Manchester City striker applied the simplest of finishes after stealing possession.
Australia reduced the deficit out of nowhere when Fernandez inadvertently diverted Goodwin’s long-range strike into the bottom-right corner, before Lisandro Martinez denied Aziz Behich a remarkable leveller with a fine last-ditch tackle.