Messi, Alvarez magic enthralls fans as Argentina see off Australia to set up Dutch QF clash at World Cup 2022
Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez fired Argentina to a 2-1 win over Australia at the Qatar World Cup 2022 knockout stage to seal their berth in the quarter-finals of the showpiece event. The South American giants will now face the in-form Netherlands, who earlier eliminated the USA with a 3-1 victory.
Argentina registered a 2-1 victory in a thrilling knockout stage encounter against Australia at the Qatar World Cup 2022 in front of a packed Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Sunday. Goals from legendary striker Lionel Messi and young sensation Julian Alvarez ensured the South American giants sealed their berth in the quarter-finals of the showpiece tournament and will now face the Netherlands on December 10 (12:30 AM IST).
Argentina had an early claim for a penalty dismissed when Papu Gómez's pass appeared to be blocked by the arm of Keanu Baccus in the area, but the referee waved the shouts away. The player was a free agent before the World Cup in Qatar.
Before Argentina's side, led by Lionel Scaloni, found a way through thanks to Messi, Australia had frustrated Argentina for most of the first half.
In the 35th minute, Nicolás Otamendi flicked Alexis MacAllister's pass into his path at the edge of the box, and the Argentine number 10 scored a goal with a left-footed shot into the bottom corner in his 1000th career game. Messi now has 789 goals in 1,000 games in his career, and with 9 goals, he also surpassed Diego Maradona's World Cup tally.
The second half began with an equal amount of tension, but Julian Lvarez may have delivered the game-ending blow when he made it two in the 57th minute. Attempting to run with the ball inside his area, Australia goalkeeper Matthew Ryan allowed Angel Di Mara to force a mistake poked into an empty net by Alvarez.
In the 77th minute of the clash, the Socceroos scored an unexpected goal when substitute Craig Goodwin's strike from 25 yards out took a nasty deflection and fell into the bottom corner to leave Emi Martinez stranded in shock.
After making a mazy run and beating three Argentine defenders in the box, Aziz Behich was about to produce the tournament's heart-breaking moment when Lisandro Martinez made a last-ditch challenge to block his shot.
Following Argentina's win over Australia, fans took to Twitter to laud the present and future of the nation that is shining in this World Cup 2022 as they gear up for a Dutch challenge next.
"That Julian Álvarez is privileged… Scores a goal in the World Cup and still puts Messi on his lap," noted one fan on Twitter, while another added, "Alvarez is pretty much the perfect forward to play up with this version of Messi. Incredible pressing engine, technically polished, intelligent movement and clinical finishing."
A third Argentina fan remarked, "Netherlands cannot stand this Argentina team full of intensity. They'll actually smoke them," while a fourth commented, "This Argentina team is so scary, performing like beasts. Netherlands vs Argentina gonna be epic."
Here's a look at how other fans of the legendary Messi and the prodigy Alvarez reacted to their World Cup 2022 magic, and also what to expect from the clash against the Netherlands: