Argentina progressed to the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup by picking up a 2-1 win over a very spirited Australian side.
Messi carries Argentina
Australia did quite well in the first half – especially in the first 30 minutes and Argentina had issues in build up. Messi was often too deep and Argentina’s gameplan was being exposed by Australia’s setup. But Messi’s goal changed everything and as he did against Mexico in the second group stage game, his impact made sure that Argentina’s tactical issued were papered over.
Australia deserve huge credit
Relative to the quality of the squad and individual players, Australia were probably one of the best teams in the tournament. They nearly gave Australia a scare at the very end and could have made 2-2 in stoppage time. They were well-drilled in the whole of the tournament and if not for the force of nature that Messi is, they could have pulled something off today.
Alvarez will be vital for Argentina
Julian Alvarez’s goal turned out to be the decider for Argentina but the Manchester City man has showed in recent games as to why he is higher in the pecking order than Lautaro Martinez. He seems much quicker and receives the ball after finding the right spaces too. He comes across as the complete forward who can change games for Argentina.