Argentina too strong for hard-working Australia

Lionel Messi celebrates [Paul Childs/Reuters]

Australia put up a decent challenge, but Argentina showed their class.

Argentina have beaten Australia 2-1 in the round of 16 of the football World Cup in Qatar, setting up a quarter-final against the Netherlands.

Lionel Messi, playing in his 1000th game, opened the scoring in the 35th minute, one of few highlights of a lethargic first half at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, to reach nine World Cup career goals and best Argentina legend Diego Maradona’s World Cup tally.

A second followed just before the hour mark, courtesy of Julian Alvarez following a major lapse by Australia’s defence.

The Socceroos played a compact game, and some periods of possession worked well for them in the second half. Goodwin tried to find a receiver inside of the box from distance in the 77th minute, but the ball ricocheted off Federico Fernandez and into the Argentina goal.

Futher efforts in both goal-mouths ramped up the tension in the dying minutes, but the widely predicted result keeps Messi’s Argentina World Cup hopes alive.

More to follow…



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