World Cup Saturday Recap: Lionel Messi scores in his 1,000th career match as Argentina advances to sixth straight quarterfinal

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Petr David Josek/AP/Shutterstock (13647967tk) Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates winning the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Argentina and Australia at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar WCup Argentina Australia Soccer, Doha, Qatar – 03 Dec 2022

World Cup Saturday Recap: Lionel Messi scores in his 1,000th career match as Argentina advances to sixth straight quarterfinal

Recapping the late Saturday action:

Argentina 2, Australia 1

  • What: World Cup, Round of 16
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 @ 1 p.m. CT
  • Where: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (Al Rayyan, Qatar)
  • FIFA World Ranking: Argentina (No. 3), Australia (No. 38)

Lionel Messi scored his ninth-ever World Cup goal and secured the nation’s sixth straight trip to the quarterfinals as Argentina defeated Australia 2-1 on Saturday at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in the Round of 16. With the goal, Messi moves into the top 20 all-time World Cup goal scorers and is now tied for 14th place on the list. It was also the 1,000th career match for Messi, who scored the opening goal in the 35th minute – assisted by 34-year-old Argentine veteran Nicolás Otamendi – to open an early 1-0 lead for the Argentines. The 22-year-old Julián Álvarez of Manchester City added an unassisted score in the 57th minute to extend the lead to 2-0. No. 3-ranked Argentina held off a late Australian charge which almost resulted in a tie game and an extra time period when Garang Kuol’s right-footed strike was stuffed near the right post in what would be the last shot on goal for Aussies at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Argentina held a solid edge in time of possession (61% to 39%) throughout the contest, while the Aussies were whistled for almost double the number of fouls (15 to eight) while trying to defend Messi and company. Messi was second among all World Cup participants with 13 total shot attempts and tied for first place with seven “shots on target” after group play, and he added another three shots on goal during Saturday’s Round of 16 contest. Those three shots on goal officially moved him into a solo lead in that stat category after he had finished group stage play behind only young star Kylian Mbappé of the 2018 World Cup champion defending French.

It was an impressive campaign for No. 38-ranked Australia, which defied the odds by even making it this far in the first place. Nary, a soul, had selected Australia as the second team to advance to the knockout stage out of Group D, a group which some had even gone so far as to say was this World Cup’s “Group of Death,” with both No. 4-ranked France as defending champs and No. 10-ranked Denmark. Australia was the lowest-ranked team by FIFA in the group, which also included No. 30-ranked Tunisia, but in this case, the rankings didn’t matter

 It was the Socceroos’ second-ever trip to the knockout stage, their previous appearance ending in a Round of 16 loss to eventual 2006 champion Italy. Australia gave itself a breath of life with a goal in the 77th minute to shorten the deficit to 2-1 when a ferocious strike from reserve Craig Goodwin ricocheted off the back of Argentina’s Enzo Fernandez and found its way into the corner of the net. The score was credited as an “own goal” for Fernandez, although Goodwin’s effort on the ball certainly had more to do with the end result. Australia mustered only one shot on goal compared to five for Argentina. Messi’s South American side also nearly tripled the Aussies in shots on goal (14 to five), despite earning just one corner kick during the contest compared to three for Australia. Argentina will now advance to face No. 8-ranked Netherlands in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 9, at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Qatar.

The two sides have played each other nine times between 1974 and 2014, and the results have been painstakingly close. Argentina is 4-3-2 all-time against the Dutch, with the two nations’ most recent matching quite possibly being its most epic one. Argentina defeated Holland 0-0 (4-2 win on penalty kicks) in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the two teams also drew 0-0 in a group play match at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Just one more goal will make it 10 overall on the biggest of stages for Messi, who would move into another historic class of footballers and into the top 10 World Cup goal scorers of all time. The Netherlands routed the USA 3-1 in the other Round of 16 match on Saturday, scoring three times as many goals on the Americans as they had allowed combined during group play, and is still unbeaten in Qatar.

Round of 16/Knockout Stage Schedule

Sunday, Dec. 4

  • Who: France (No. 4) vs. Poland (No. 26)
  • When, where: 9 a.m. CT, Al Thumama Stadium (Doha, Qatar)
  • Who: England (No. 5) vs. Senegal (No. 18)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Al Bayt Stadium (Al Khor, Qatar)

Monday, Dec. 5

  • Who: Japan (No. 24) vs. Croatia (No. 12)
  • When, where: 9 a.m. CT, Al Janoub Stadium (Al Wakrah, Qatar)
  • Who: Brazil (No. 1) vs. South Korea (No. 28)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Stadium 974 (Doha, Qatar)

Tuesday, Dec. 6

  • Who: Morocco (No. 22) vs. Spain (No. 7)
  • When, where: 9 a.m. CT, Education City Stadium (Doha, Qatar)
  • Who: Portugal (No. 9) vs. Switzerland (No. 15)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Lusail Iconic Stadium (Lusail, Qatar)

Quarterfinals/Knockout Stage Schedule

Friday, Dec. 9

  • Who: Netherlands (No. 8) vs. Argentina (No. 3)
  • When, where: 1 p.m. CT, Lusail Iconic Stadium (Lusail, Qatar)

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