The second game of the day included Lionel Messi, who was playing in his 1,000th career game, looking to put Argentina into the quarterfinals against a surprise Australia squad that finished second in Group D. Australia came to play, and even made things interesting with a late surge, but in the end it wasn’t enough as the underdog Socceroos lost 2-1.
Messi scored in the 35th minute, his first goal in the knockout-stage of a World Cup, to give Argentina the first-half lead off an assist from Nicolás Otamendi. The Albiceleste looked comfortable heading into half-time with the lead and opted for passing drills instead of pressing.
After the half, Julián Álvarez doubled Argentina’s lead at the 57th minute, but an own-goal 20 minutes later gave Australia some juice heading into the game’s final minutes. But it wasn’t meant to be and the Albiceleste are moving on to face the Netherlands, who won the early game against the U.S.