Messi, Alvarez score as Argentina down Australia to reach quarters

Messi, Alvarez score as Argentina down Australia to reach quarters

Doha, December 4, 2022

Argentina survived some anxious moments against Australia to register a fighting 2-1 win over them and move into the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup.

At the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, Argentina were able to withstand some last minute Australian attacks to make it to the quarter-finals.

Australia stepped up pressure in the last ten minutes of normal time and in injury stoppage time but Argentina survived some key moments to keep their citadel intact and advance into the last eight stage.

Argentina went into the half-time break with a 1-0 lead.

Messi put Argentina into the lead in the 35th minute while Julian Alvarez made it 2-0 in the 57th minute.

Australia pulled one back in the 77th minute through a own goal which went off a deflection in the Argentina goal off a left footed effort from Aaron Mody.

The first goal came off a setpiece situation. Messi who took control of the free kick bent his left-footed try deep, which was cleared by defense. The ball did not go far and came back to Messi via two colleagues.

Nicolas Otamendi squared the ball for Messi inside the box and the striker unleashed a perfect grounded shot, pushing the ball past two Australian defenders and the keeper to make it 1-0 with ten minutes to go for the first half whistle.

The second goal for Argentina happened to be a big blunder from Australian keeper Mathew Ryan who made a mess of the backpass.

With two strikers in hot pursuit Ryan preferred to dribble his way but lost control and Alvarez pouncing on the loose ball to send the ball to the back of the nets.

Australia which came with the ocassional move kept themselves in the match with a goal 13 minutes from the final whistle.

Mody's left-footed drive directed goalwards found Fernandez on the way as it deflected off the Argentina striker and caught the Argentina goalkeeper on the wrong foot and ended in the back of the nets.

Argentina will now take on The Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

With USA and Australia eliminated and with The Netherlands and Argentina qualifying for the quarters, the other teams which will vie for a place in the quarter finals are: Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Morocco, Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Brazil, England, France, Senegal and Switzerland.

Here are the remaining Last-16 fixtures at the Qatar World Cup (times in GMT):

* Sunday December 4

France v Poland, Doha (1500)

England v Senegal, Al Khor (1900)

* Monday December 5

Japan v Croatia, Al Wakrah (1500)

Brazil v South Korea, Doha (1900)

* Tuesday December 6

Morocco v Spain, Doha (1600)

Portugal v Switzerland, Lusail (1900)


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