Argentina won the round of 16 against Australia 2-1 on Saturday evening. At the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Lionel Messi scored the first goal of the game in the first half and Julián Álvarez was able to take advantage of an error in the Australian defense after the break. Australia eventually made it quite difficult for Argentina, but it didn’t get any further than the 2-1 fifteen minutes before the end. With the victory, Argentina qualifies for the quarterfinals of this World Cup, in which it will meet the Dutch national team next Friday. The Netherlands won 3-1 against the US earlier on Saturday.
Argentina already had some trouble in the first half with Australia, which kept the spaces on the field small. The Argentinians, seen by many as one of the favorites for the world title prior to the tournament, hardly created any scoring opportunities. Until the 35th minute, when Lionel Messi found a hole in a crowded penalty area. He shot the ball with the inside of his left foot behind Australian goalkeeper Matthew Ryan. It was Messi’s ninth World Cup goal, but his first goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup.
Australia had to come in the second half, creating more space for Argentina. Still, the 2-0 came from a situation where Australia had the ball. After an hour of play, defender Harry Souttar got his keeper Matthew Ryan into trouble with a back pass. Ryan couldn’t control the ball, after which Julián Álvarez managed to snatch the ball from him and then had no trouble finding the empty goal.
Argentina failed to finish the match easily. In the 73rd minute, a long shot from Australian substitute Craig Goodwin via Enzo Fernández ended up behind goalkeeper Martínez: 2-1. Australia came close to equalizing ten minutes before the end, but left back Aziz Behich could not crown his solo with a goal. Lisandro Martínez managed to block the bet just in time. It remained at 2-1, because Argentina missed some great opportunities and Australia was also unable to score.
This article is also part of our live blog: Argentina struggles to beat Australia and meet the Netherlands in the quarterfinals
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