QATAR: Lionel Messi, In his 1000th career game, enthralled the crowd as he helped Argentina defeat Australia 2-1 in their round of 16 matchups at the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Sunday.
The Argentine captain opened the scoring at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium with the 789th goal of his career, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with the Netherlands.
By capitalising on a slip-up by Australia’s goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, Julian Alvarez doubled Argentina’s lead. Enzo Fernadez’s own goal gave Australia a one-goal advantage late in the second half.
Late in the game, there were a few tense moments, but Argentina held on to their 2-1 lead to advance to the quarterfinals.
Netherlands vs. US
In the first match of the night (Netherlands vs. USA), Memphis Depay put the Netherlands on the board first with a goal from the box. Just before halftime, Daley Blind scored the second goal for the Netherlands, giving them a 2-0 lead.
Haji Right’s goal for the USA in the second half gave the supporters some hope. Denzel Dumfries, though, scored his first goal of the match for the Netherlands just a few minutes later, making the score 3-1.
In the end, the USA lost the game 1-3 because they could not mount a late comeback.
Round of 16 clashes
The Group B and Group D champions will meet in the Round of 16 on Day 15 of the World Cup. The winning teams from Groups A and C, Senegal and Poland, will compete against England and France.
The two European powerhouses, France and England, finished first in their respective groups and will be the favourites going into the tournament. Still, they cannot afford to underestimate their rivals because they also have some of the best players in the world.
While Senegal is without Sadio Mane in Qatar, they have players like captain Kalidou Koulibaly and goalkeeper Édouard Mendy, who plays in the Premier League for Chelsea and is one of the best in his position.
In the past three years, the Polish striker Robert Lewandowski has twice come close to winning the Ballon d’Or, and France is well aware of the threat he possesses.