Messi a thousand times, in the sense of matches played as a professional, and the first goal of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in a match in the knockout phase of the World Cup. Australia paid the price, waking up too late, inserting only some of its best men in the final, such as Hrustic and Goodwin from Verona, and then returns home, as expected, but without having demerited. (THE CHRONICLE)
The fact is that the champion was on Albiceleste’s side, and when the number 10 is inspired he always puts his mark on the game, even when the opponents try, like this time, to stop him between markings and various ‘cages’. To block today’s Messi, Australia would have needed a defender like Gentile di Spagna ’82, but football in the new millennium is different and such figures probably no longer exist. Furthermore, La Pulce seems to have found a suitable partner in that Alvarez of the River Plate school and now highly regarded by Guardiola at Manchester City, given that the boy also scored in this match, with the collaboration of the Australian goalkeeper Ryan, confirming that Scaloni is right to focus on him rather than on Lautaro Martinez, relegated to the role of substitute and today capable of wasting a big chance in the final which he could have transformed into his third goal.
Now, in the quarter-finals of Qatar 2022, the duel of the semi-final of Brazil 2014 between the genius of Messi and the tactical alchemy of the Prophet Van Gaal will be renewed, in a game to be enjoyed. Meanwhile Argentina enjoys the limited success against the Australians, scoring with a shot by Goodwin modified by the impact of the ball with Fernandez and recriminating on the two chances they had in the final to draw, first with Behich and then with Kuol. But it must be said that in the latter case the ‘Scaloneta’ goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was good. So Argentina won with the slightest gap in a match they essentially dominated, with the omnipresent De Paul being the best of his team together with Messi, almost as if to agree with those Italian clubs that, last summer, tried in vain to bring him back in Serie A: but Atletico Madrid won’t let him go, and Simeone does well even if they don’t always let him play, unlike Scaloni who doesn’t even give him a minute to catch his breath. As for Australia, in the first half they never shot on goal thinking only of containing. In the second half, being down, he tried to push forward but a Graham Arnold, a thoroughbred striker at the time (at least by ‘Aussie’ standards), would have been needed up front and not on the bench in the role of coach.
Argentina’s ‘Messi a thousand’ broke the deadlock in the 35th minute‘, with a nice finish after Otamendi’s pass: for la Pulce it was the ninth goal in the World Cup (he played five), a figure that allows him to detach Diego Maradona in the ranking of the best Argentine goalscorers in the World Cup: ahead of ‘current n.10 now there is only Batistuta. In the 12th minute of the second half the Albiceleste doubled: Ryan messed up and tried an improbable dribble on De Paul, the ball went to Julian Alvarez, making it 2-0. The ‘Socceroos’ then find the 2-1 with a shot from distance by Goodwin decisively deflected by Fernandenz, then they don’t materialize anymore and in the end Argentina is already thinking about Holland: Friday the 9th will be a match not to be missed .
Argentina (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Molina (35′ st Montiel), Otamendi, Romero, Acuna (26′ st Tagliafico); De Paul, E. Fernandez, Mac Allister (35′ st Palacios); Gomez (5′ st Lisandro Martinez), Messi, Alvarez (26′ st Lautaro Martinez). (1 Armani, 12 Rulli, 2 Foyth, 5 Paredes, 6 Pezzella, 11 Di Maria, 15 Correa, 16 Almada, 18 Rodriguez Guido, 21 Dybala). All.: Scaloni.
Australia (4-3-3): Ryan; Degenek (26′ St Karacic), Rowles, Souttar, Behich; Baccus (13′ St Hrustic), Mooy, Irvine; Leckie (26′ St Kuol), Duke (26′ St Maclaren), McGree (13′ St Goodwin). (12 Redmayne, 18 Vukovic, 3 Atkinson, 6 Tilio, 8 Wright, 11 Mabil, 17 Devlin, 20 Deng, 24 King, 25 Cummings). All.: Arnold.
Referee: Marciniak (Poland).
Goals: in the 35th minute Messi; in the 12th minute Alvarez, 32′ Fernandez (own goal) Corners: 3-1 for Australia Stoppage time: 2′ and 7′ Booked: Irvine, Degenek for foul play Spectators: 45,032