Lionel Messi put Argentina ahead 1-0 against Australia with a clinical first-half strike
Argentina have beaten Australia 2-1 in the round of 16 of the football World Cup in Qatar, setting up a quarter-final against the Netherlands.
Lionel Messi, playing in his 1000th game, opened the scoring in the 35th minute, one of few highlights of a lethargic first half at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, to reach nine World Cup career goals and best Argentina legend Diego Maradona’s World Cup tally.
A second followed just before the hour mark, courtesy of Julian Alvarez following a major lapse by Australia’s defence.
The Socceroos played a compact game, and some periods of possession worked well for them in the second half. Goodwin tried to find a receiver inside of the box from distance in the 77th minute, but the ball ricocheted off Federico Fernandez and into the Argentina goal.
Futher efforts in both goal-mouths ramped up the tension in the dying minutes, but the widely predicted result keeps Messi’s Argentina World Cup hopes alive.