Lionel Messi scored his first goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup in his 1,000th professional game. He guided his team Argentina into the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over Australia.
With his famous left-foot goal in the 34th minute, Messi put Argentina ahead with his third goal at the 2022 edition of FIFA. He surpassed Diego Maradona in the list of the total number of goals scored at the World Cup with nine goals.
Julian Alvarez pounced on a heavy touch by Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to tap into an empty net for the second goal as Argentina set up a meeting with the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
Australia scored a 77th-minute consolation goal when Craig Goodwin's shot deflected into the net off Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez.
For Australia's squad, it proved to be a match too far at a World Cup in which the team has exceeded expectations by reaching the knockout stage for only the second time.
Argentina won three straight games after their loss to Saudi Arabia in the opening group match. As for Messi, he now has 789 goals in a career.
Let's look at Messi vs Ronaldo statistics after 1000 Professional games:
- Goals Scored: Lionel Messi - 789, Cristiano Ronaldo - 725
- Assists: Messi - 348, Ronaldo - 216
- Trophies: Ronaldo - 31, Messi - 41
- Balon d'Ors: Ronaldo - 5, Messi - 7
Messi sent a pass inside to the edge of the area and kept running, eventually receiving a lay-off from Nicolas Otamendi to take one touch and stroke his finish through the long legs of Australia defender Harry Souttar — the tallest outfield player at the World Cup.
And when Alvarez added the second, it looked like Argentina was going to cruise to victory. Messi started putting on a show and one 40-meter (yard) dribble wowed the crowd as he slalomed past three defenders and was tackled just as he was about to shoot.
This was no walkover, though, with Australia mounting a stirring fightback in the final 20 minutes, even putting Souttar up front in stoppage time for his aerial threat.
Here's how fans reacted on Twitter: