The starting position before the second round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar was clear: Argentina went into the duel against Argentina as the clear favorite. In the group phase, the team around superstar Lionel Messi was able to stabilize and celebrate two wins in a row after losing to Saudi Arabia (1:2). The Australians were already written off by many experts after the 1: 4 against world champion France. But after two victories against Tunisia and Denmark (1-0), the Socceroos have taught the critics better.
The Argentines accepted the role of favourites. You controlled the game from the first minute. But the Australians’ defense initially didn’t allow for any great opportunities. The Socceroos tried to make life as difficult as possible for the Argentines. The Australians did a great job. In the first half hour there were no highlights. Who else but Messi redeemed the Argentines in the 35th minute. The PSG star made it 1-0 with a well-placed shot. Argentina’s football superstar crowned his anniversary in a fitting manner: Lionel Messi played his 1000th competitive game as a professional in (today’s) round of 16 against Australia and scored the 1-0 in the first half. It was his ninth goal at a World Cup, making the 35-year-old captain of the Albiceleste Argentina’s sole record holder. Diego Maradona had eight goals in his career.
From the Argentinian point of view, the second half was about closing the sack and scoring more goals. In the second half, too, Australia initially didn’t take any risks despite being behind. An incredible gift from Mathew Ryan in the 57th minute finally made Argentina 2-0. Ryan tried to prevail against two Argentines. The Australia goalkeeper lost out against Alvarez, allowing the Manchester City star to put the ball in the net. Australia came back into this game out of nowhere. In the 77th minute, Goodwin’s shot was deflected into the goal. So it was only 1:2.
In the 89th minute, Martinez shot over the goal from a completely free stand. In stoppage time, Ryan was on hand against Martinez. In the last minute Kuol equalized on the foot. But Martinez in the Argentine goal prevented the equaliser. In the end, the favorite won 2-1 and is now in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. There you will meet the Netherlands on Friday at 8 p.m., who already defeated the USA 3-1 in the afternoon.