The second round of the 16th round of the FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar next Saturday, with the meeting between Argentina and Australia. First in Group C, despite a surprising start to the season with a crushing defeat against Saudi Arabia (1-2), the Albiceleste had a good card to play against the Socceroos who, after starting poorly against the Blues (1-4) managed to overtake Tunisia. And Denmark to finish second in Group D, which is dominated by France. The beginning of the meeting was very quiet. Lionel Messi had to come down in his own part of the pitch to come and touch the leather but the hazard did not reach the edge of the opposite surface.
By trying to go over his limit, Papu Gomez found space to cross but was then saved by Keanu Baccus’ hand in the area (4). Monsieur Marsignac did not flinch nor grant punishment to the Albicelesti. When the game began to balance and the Australians gave themselves more freedom thanks to possession of the ball in their favour, Lionel Messi unleashed his team with a sudden unstoppable shot to open the scoring in this meeting (35, 1-0). On this occasion, La Pulga scored his first goal in the knockout stage of the World Cup in his 1000th professional match! The good defensive management of Lionel Scaloni’s players nibbled the Australians’ attempts and other attacking inclinations until the end of the first half.
Argentina will face the Netherlands in the quarter-finals
The second half started on the same lines with possession in favor of Argentina, despite intense pressure from the Argentine national team. Little by little, spaces began to be created in the Australian camp, and Lionel Messi, still, could unleash it by finding the path of the ball, Milos Degenek and then Matthew Ryan (51). A few minutes later, the Argentines narrowly missed a defensive error that could have been fatal. Emiliano Martinez had to rush to avoid allowing Doc to take advantage of a backpass from Nicolas Otamendi who also crushed him (53rd). In the end, it was Julián Alvarez who took advantage of a mistake by the Australian goalkeeper just before the hour mark. And while Matthew Ryan tried to take control before the restart, Rodrigo de Paul pressed him and then the ball was stolen by Julian Alvarez, who only had to push the leather into the empty goal (57, 2-0).
Argentina quietly took a two-goal lead when the unexpected happened. Craig Goodwin took advantage of Nicolas Otamendi’s defensive errors to fire the ball away. The latter seemed to go towards the stands, but Enzo Fernandez threw himself and blocked the ball with his arm to push it into the net through a deceiver by Emiliano Martinez (77, 2-1). In the process, Aziz Behech went on a solo lunge, knocking out four Argentines including the unfortunate Otamendi in the opposition box before being grabbed by Lisandro Martínez (81). Despite this excitement, Argentina found the resources to keep score until the end of the match. Without the clumsy Lautaro Martinez, the Argentines could have given themselves some air but Interiste landed alone in the area after a fine work from Lionel Messi (90). Behind, the Albiceleste captain took charge with a superb curling shot that narrowly escaped the opposite porthole (90 + 4). Just before the end, of course, for the Brazilian national team who were going to have a good match against Argentina. For its part, the Argentine national team will meet the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
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