FIFA World Cup 2022: Messi shines as Argentina reach quarters
Lionel Messi scored in his 1,000th career match as Argentina ran 2-1 winners over Australia to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Messi struck a superb left-footed shot in the 35th minute before Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez scored next in the second half. Australia pulled a goal back via Craig Goodwin but it wasn't enough. Here's more.
Second-highest scorer for Argentina at the FIFA WC
Playing his 1,000th career match (club and country), Messi scored his 789th goal. He has 94 goals for Argentina in all competitions. Notably, Messi has raced to 9 World Cup goals, steering clear of Diego Maradona. He is now the outright second-highest scorer for Argentina at the World Cup, behind Gabriel Batistuta (10). Messi scored his maiden goal in knockout stages in WC history.
Messi equals Villa, Eusebio, and Vieri's World Cup goals
Messi has matched several star footballers in terms of FIFA World Cup goals like David Villa (Spain), Christian Vieri (Italy), Eusebio (Portugal), and Brazil's Ademir, Vava, and Jairzinho among other players.
Messi's performance at the 2022 World Cup
Messi has chipped in with three goals and an assist in the ongoing World Cup in Qatar. He is now in level with Alvaro Morata and Kylian Mbappe in terms of goal involvements. Besides, Messi has also equaled Enner Valencia and Coady Gakpo (goals scored).
How did the match pan out?
Argentina barely threatened in the first half but Messi stroked in a delightful first-time finish to help his side go upfront. Alvarez scored the second half, punishing a mistake made by Australia keeper Matt Ryan. Australia pulled a goal back when substitute Goodwin saw his strike take a huge deflection off Enzo Fernandez. Aziz Behich was denied by Lisandro Martinez before Argentina spurned chances.
Here are the key match stats
Argentina had 14 attempts out of which five were on target. Australia managed a sole shot on target from five attempts and scored. In terms of possession, Argentina had 61% possession, clocking a passing accuracy rate of 86%.
Argentina will face the Netherlands in the last eight
Argentina will face the Netherlands in the last eight. Netherlands beat the USA 3-1 in their round of 16 match. Argentina and Netherlands have met on five occasions at the FIFA World Cup. Netherlands have won twice, besides losing twice and drawing once.