The 1,000th game of Lionel Messi’s already legendary career had a more than traditional script: a goal scored with his signature and yet another decisive performance for the account. Under the leadership of the number 10, Argentina beat Australia by 2 to 1, today (3), at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium, and confirmed the qualification for the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar.
Accustomed to being chased on the field and facing closed defences, Messi did again what he had already turned into a routine in recent years. While being surrounded by Australians at the entrance to the area, the playmaker pulled out of his hat a cross finish, low, indefensible, to open the way for the “hermanos” classification.
In the final stage, Julián Álvarez scored the second after taking advantage of a bizarre blunder by the Australia goalkeeper. Goodwin scored for the Australians and put the pressure on Argentina, who managed to hold on. Lautaro Martínez still missed two goals made in the final minutes.
Now, Messi and company’s selection faces the Netherlands, which today beat the United States by 3 to 1, in the quarterfinals. The game between the South Americans and the Europeans is scheduled for Friday (9), at 4 pm (Brasília time), at the Lusail stadium.
In addition to being a decision, the match already carried a symbolism even before it started: it would be Messi’s 1000th game, named the best player in the world seven times. The Argentine number 10 lived up to expectations and did not disappoint. He shone and ranked his country, which is still dreaming of winning the World Cup three times. See the number of Messi games by clubs and national team below:
- barcelona: 778 games;
- PSG: 53 games;
- Argentina: 169 games.
Controversy before 5 minutes
The game started at a slow pace, with the teams studying each other, but there was room for the Argentines to claim a penalty. At 3 minutes, Papu Gómez crossed and the ball hit Baccus’s arm – the doubt is whether the move took place inside or outside the area. The arbitration scored nothing on the field and was not called by VAR to check the play.
Messi overcomes ‘wall’ and beats Maradona’s numbers
Australia’s proposal was very clear: to close in on defense and seek counterattacks. The mission was being fulfilled to the letter until the 35th minute of the first half, when Messi, even with several Australians in front, received from Otamendi and finished with a cross to open the scoring.
In addition, the number 10 surpassed none other than Diego Maradona in goals scored in Cups (nine against eight). Messi is one goal away from matching Gabriel Batistuta, who has scored 10 times in World Cups.
closed the house
In the first minutes of the second half, coach Lionel Scaloni removed striker Papu Gómez and placed defender Lisandro Martínez, leaving the team’s tactical scheme more cautious. Still, Argentina managed to increase the lead…
What a mess, goalkeeper!
A collective vacillation by Australia, with great emphasis on goalkeeper Ryan, made Argentina expand the score in the 11th minute of the final stage. Ryan received it at the stake and, instead of kicking it, tried to throw it out. The tragedy was made: Julián Álvarez stole the ball and pushed it into the empty net: 2-0 for the brothers.
And it was emotional!
What looked like a controlled game for Argentina took on a dramatic turn in the final stretch. In the 34th minute, Goodwin finished from afar, the ball deflected off Enzo Fernández and “killed” goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who could do nothing. The hope of Australia grew – and a lot –, which soon after almost increased after Behich queued up and submitted. Martínez made a good intervention to save the “hermanos”.
Not there, Lautaro! (twice)
In the final minutes, Messi had all the work, got rid of the marking and served Lautaro Martínez twice, free, to “kill” the game. The striker did not take advantage. At first, he isolated. In the second, he hit goalkeeper Ryan. The 22 shirt phase is definitely not the best. The luck of the Argentines is that the score was already enough for the classification.
Hail, Emiliano Martinez!
Australia launched an attack and, in the last shot of the game, Kuol received it in the area, but had a shot saved by Emiliano Martínez. End of drama and Argentina qualified for the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
ARGENTINA 2 x 1 AUSTRALIA
Competition: World Cup Round of 16
Date and time: December 3, 2022 (Saturday), at 4 pm (Brasília time)
Place: Ahmad bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan (Qatar)
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Assistants: Pawel Sokolnick (Poland) and Tomasz Listkiewicz (Poland)
VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (Poland)
Yellow cards: Irvine and Degenek (AUS)
Goals: Messi (ARG), 35’/T 1 (1-0), Julián Álvarez (ARG), 11’/T 2 (2-0) and Goodwin (AUS), 31’/T 2 (2-1)
ARGENTINA: Emiliano Martinez; Molina (Montiel), Romero, Otamendi and Acuña (Tagliafico); Enzo Fernández, De Paul and Mac Allister (Palacios); Papu Gómez (Lisandro Martínez), Messi and Julián Álvarez (Lautaro Martínez). Technician: Lionel Scaloni
AUSTRALIA: Ryan; Degenek (Karacic), Souttar, Rowles and Behich; Leckie (Kuol), Mooy, Irvine and Baccus (Hrustic); McGree (Goodwin) and Duke (Maclaren). Technician: Graham Arnold
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