Lionel Messi was at his best mettle as he netted a goal in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia, to qualify to the quarter-final stages of the 2022 World Cup on Saturday.
The PSG star was making his 119th appearance for his country and they needed the help of his brilliance to take them through to the next round and a tantalising tie against the Netherlands on Friday.
Argentina had barely threatened in the first half but Paris St-Germain’s Messi stroked in a delightful first-time finish to spark wild celebrations from their fans.
The South American supporters had been on their feet singing all game and they had further delight when Julian Alvarez punished Mat Ryan’s mistake to double their advantage.
Australia had offered very little but surprisingly pulled one back with 13 minutes remaining when substitute Craig Goodwin’s strike took a huge deflection off Enzo Fernandez.
They could have levelled shortly after through Aziz Behich’s incredible solo run, but his shot was superbly blocked by Lisandro Martinez’s sliding challenge as Argentina edged through.
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