Argentina 2 Australia 1: Moments missed as Messi and co progress to quarter finals
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Argentina beat Australia 2-1 to advance to the quarter-final stage of the World Cup. Lionel Messi has now scored nine goals in World Cup history, that is one more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona.
Manchester City’s second striker Julien Alvarez profited from a nightmare from Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to score his side’s second, before Enzo Fernandez cruelly deflected a ball past Emi Martinez to give the Australian’s a lifeline and set up a nervous ending.
Argentina held on to seal the victory and kept Messi’s dream of winning the World Cup alive. Rahman Osman was at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium to witness Messi magic. Here are four moments you might have missed from the game.
Argentine party started an hour before kick off and never went off
The Argentina fans in Qatar believe that everything has been written in the stars for Messi to go all the way and win his first World Cup. This would take him past Cristiano Ronaldo in the debate over the best footballers of all time, and even his country’s hero Diego Maradona.
They have come with their drums and bands and ahead of the game against Australia, coloured the stadium with their blue and white and raised the temperature to maximum.
The Argentine’s have created the best atmosphere I have seen at the World Cup after going to 12 games. They might go up and down but their support has been constant.
So much pressure on Messi
There is an air of expectancy every time the ball lands at Lionel Messi’s feet. You just feel that everyone in blue and white holds their breath until he loses it and it’s been so throughout the competition.
Messi is desperate to add the World Cup to his impressive trophy cabinet and this will be the jewel in the crown for the former Barcelona and now PSG man.
Messi overtakes Maradona
One of the few records left for Messi to break is of course to follow in the footsteps of Maradona, but he’s gone one step ahead of him by scoring nine goals at World Cups with Maradona managing eight.
The only Argentine player who has more World Cup goals is Gabriel Batistuta and if Argentina are to go all the way and achieve their target of winning the trophy there is every indication that Messi will go on and break that record.
That was also his first World Cup knockout goal, which will come as a surprise given they were in the final against Germany in 2014.
Argentina have a lot of Qatari fans
The Ahmed Bin Ali stadium was packed and not just by Argentines but also by Qataris who were wearing their traditional outfits but had Argentine colours. There is a huge chance that they could be fans of Messi but they did add to the colour of the game.
As the South American country progresses to the advanced stages of the World Cup there is a feeling that they will have a lot of Qatar fans who have seen their team get knocked out at the group stage throw their support behind Messi and Argentina.