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Argentina v Australia Live Commentary, 12/3/22

FT
2 - 1
ARG
AUS
L. Messi (35)
J. Álvarez (57)
E. Fernández (77 og)
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

Commentary

That concludes our commentary of the World Cup fixture between Argentina and Australia! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Argentina advance and will play the Netherlands in the quarter-finals on Friday, while Australia’s impressive tournament comes to an end.
A goal in each half for Argentina prevented a late Australia surge from coming to fruition, sealing a 2-1 nervy but deserved victory. Despite few chances for either side in the first half, Messi capped his 1,000th game for club and country with his first World Cup knockout goal, finishing in clinical fashion following a free-kick that wasn’t adequately cleared. Alvarez’s strike three minutes before the hour looked to wrap up the result, but a late Goodwin strike - deemed an own goal thanks to Fernandez’s deflection - made it anything but easy in the end. Scaloni’s side would ultimately see out the remainder of the game without adding to their lead despite promising opportunities in injury time, but hung on to book their fourth quarter-final trip in the last five World Cups.
90' + 8' FULL-TIME: ARGENTINA 2-1 AUSTRALIA.
90' + 7' AUSTRALIA ALMOST EQUALISE! A cross to the far post is controlled inside the penalty area with a lovely touch by Kuol, who immediately finds himself in enough space to turn. The substitute fires a low shot that Emiliano Martinez saves superbly, to the relief of all Argentina!
90' + 5' Messi and Lautaro Martinez again combine intricately inside the penalty area, but Ryan is there to deny the Inter striker once more, with the follow-up effort flying off-target.
90' + 3' Lautaro Martinez is played through on goal by Messi. Ryan narrows the angle well and makes a big save which keeps the deficit at one.
90' + 2' Australia’s only win over Argentina in seven past meetings (D1 L5) was back in July 1988 in the Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup, winning 4-1 with goals from Paul Wade, Charlie Yankos (twice) and Vlado Bozinoski. Current coach Arnold also played in the match for the Socceroos.
90' The fourth official indicates seven minutes will be added to the end of the match for stoppages.
88' Lautaro Martinez drags an off-balance shot on the swivel towards the far post, missing both the target and the run of the oncoming Tagliafico.
86' Irvine’s tired tackle puts Palacios on his back and gives Argentina a free-kick deep in their half, allowing them to alleviate some pressure.
84' Mooy whacks a cross into the penalty area from deep in midfield looking for Maclaren, but Emiliano Martinez anticipates the move and meets the ball at the edge of his box.
82' WHAT A CHANCE! A simple one-two in midfield gets Behich in a bit of space, which he uses to gather pace on a charge towards goal. The full-back gets all the way into the penalty area and takes a touch before seeing his sliding shot blocked behind by a sliding Lisandro Martinez.
E. Palacios
N. Molina
Argentina
80' Montiel is introduced at wing-back, as Molina makes way.
79' A previously calm Scaloni is pacing his touchline with a little bit more speed in the minutes after Australia’s goal, obviously unhappy with conceding. It appears as though the Albiceleste will make another pair of substitutions in order to shore up the result with the coach not satisfied.
E. Fernández
Own Goal
Argentina
77' AUSTRALIA GET ONE BACK! 2-1! GAME ON! It’s a goal out of absolutely nowhere, with Goodwin’s effort from 25 yards out following a repelled cross taking a touch off Fernandez’s face and wrong-footing the goalkeeper! It goes down as an own goal for the Benfica midfielder, giving the Socceroos a chance with 13 minutes left!
76' A clever pass forward from Lautaro Martinez while getting sent to the ground by Irvine puts Tagliafico in a position to strike on goal but he drags his effort wide of Ryan’s far post.
74' A number of substitutions has caused the game to become even more slow and disjointed, which works in Argentina’s favour. They have just over 15 minutes left to see out for their third clean sheet of the tournament.
N. Tagliafico
M. Acuña
Argentina
72' Scaloni also changes his wing-back, with Acuna making way for Tagliafico.
F. Karačić
M. Degenek
Australia
72' The booked Degenek will not see out the 90 minutes, with Karacic his replacement.
G. Kuol
M. Leckie
Australia
72' Kuol comes on for Leckie.
J. Maclaren
M. Duke
Australia
72' Duke's match has come to an end with 18 minutes remaining. Maclaren is tasked with providing the Australia attack a spark.
L. Martínez
J. Álvarez
Argentina
71' Alvarez is brought off 14 minutes after scoring Argentina's second goal. Inter's Lautaro Martinez is on in his place.
68' Australia are given another free-kick, this time on the right wing where Goodwin is tasked with taking it after Otamendi’s foul on Leckie. The substitute swings in his delivery but it’s put too close to Emiliano Martinez, who rises highest to make the catch.
66' De Paul plays the corner short to Messi, who returns the ball to the Atletico Madrid midfielder as he cuts inside. He sweeps a flat cross into the penalty area but again Souttar is in the right spot to head away the delivery.
65' Messi slaloms on a trademark run, getting through a triangle of Australia midfielders before drifting past a defender and linking up with Alvarez to get inside the area. A nutmeg follows but the captain is unable to get his shot away, winning a corner instead.
64' The free-kick is whacked to the back post where an overhead kick from Hrustic keeps the ball in play, but Australia are unable to make the most of the opportunity as Argentina come away from their goal calmly.
62' A late slide from Romero leaves Goodwin on the ground in a heap near the left corner flag. It’s a bit overzealous from the centre-back, who gives away a free-kick needlessly in a good position for a delivery.
60' Australia have now gone 30 minutes without attempting a shot of any kind, with Emiliano Martinez not forced into a save in the entirety of the match. Arnold will have to hope his substitutes shake up the game, as they've been rather toothless in attack.
60' Australia have seen even less of the ball in the second half than they did in the first, with Argentina doing a good job of controlling the tempo and denying their opponents any momentum at all. The Socceroos will need to make the most of their set-pieces in the late stages of the game if they wish to cause a late disturbance.
C. Goodwin
R. McGree
Australia
58' Goodwin is also sent on, with McGree making way.
A. Hrustić
K. Baccus
Australia
58' Hrustic comes on for Baccus in the aftermath of Argentina's second goal.
J. Álvarez
Goal
Argentina
57' ALVAREZ DOUBLES ARGENTINA’S LEAD! 2-0! Argentina’s pressing pays dividends, with the midfield stepping up immediately to try and win the ball back following Ryan’s throw. A poor pass back from Rowles puts the goalkeeper under pressure inside his area and allows Alvarez to steal it back and slot into an empty net!
55' This is Australia’s fifth World Cup match against a South American opponent, with the Socceroos winless in the previous four (D1 L3). Argentina’s only previous meetings with a team from Oceania are their seven games against Australia, none of which have come in the World Cup.
53' The withdrawal of Gomez seems to have been done for tactical reasons, with Scaloni sending on a defender to create a back five. Lisandro Martinez will slot in alongside Otamendi and Romero in the back, while Acuna and Molina operate as wing-backs. The midfield remains the same with Mac Allister, Fernandez and De Paul, with Messi and Alvarez operating as a pair up top.
51' Messi is given time and space to shoot from 20 yards out after a cross from Molina is insufficiently cleared, but the captain slips, which gives Ryan an easy save to make.
Lisandro Martínez
P. Gómez
Argentina
50' The first substitution of the match is made by Argentina, who send Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez on for Gomez.
48' Emiliano Martinez’s kick out from the back is closed down dangerously by Duke, with the striker getting a touch on the clearance. Thankfully for the goalkeeper, the deflection does not take the ball towards goal, instead sending it out for an Argentina throw.
46' Argentina get the match restarted from the kick-off!
Down a goal for the first time since their opening fixture, Australia are left with little option to save their tournament but to attack. Duke and Irvine have looked isolated figures with little in the way of support, which could lead to the introduction of Hrustic in the second half. Argentina will be happy to exploit the spaces in behind Australia’s press, and could rely upon the experience of Di Maria and Rodriguez to keep possession and break down the opposition’s attacks.
Argentina take a 1-0 lead into the interval at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, despite little separating them from Australia. Arnold’s side were organised and structured off the ball but were able to offer precious little going forward to trouble Emiliano Martinez. Scaloni’s team were not much better for their part, labouring to create chances despite an overwhelming share of the possession. Messi’s strike 10 minutes from time gave the Albiceleste the advantage following a cleared free-kick, which Mac Allister pounced on before sparking the critical passing move that ended with the captain’s low finish past a flailing Ryan; his first goal in the knockout stages of a World Cup for Argentina.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 1-0 AUSTRALIA.
45' The fourth official indicates two minutes will be added to the end of the half for stoppages.
43' This is the first meeting between Argentina and Australia since a September 2007 friendly, won 1-0 by Argentina thanks to a goal from Martin Demichelis. It’s their first ever meeting at the World Cup.
41' Argentina look happy to take the one-goal lead into the half as they knock the ball forward and back just inside Australia’s half. Scaloni’s team-talk will be much easier following Messi’s opener, with the Albiceleste unable to fashion many chances in the first half.
39' Degenek is now taken out by Acuna, who looks to exact a measure of revenge against his opponent as the game heats up in intensity.
M. Degenek
Yellow Card
Australia
38' Degenek’s swipe to Acuna’s face during an aerial duel is deemed worthy of a yellow card by the referee, who books the Australia full-back.
37' Argentina’s goal comes from just their first shot on target, and their second effort in total. Messi’s clinical and inimitable finish has given his side the edge, with just under 10 minutes to go in the half.
L. Messi
Goal
Argentina
35' A GOAL FOR MESSI IN GAME NUMBER 1,000! 1-0 ARGENTINA! Messi’s initial free-kick into the six-yard box is repelled by Souttar, but the Albiceleste regain possession and look to hit from a central position in the second phase. Mac Allister plays a pass into Otamendi, whose first touch tees Messi up for a shot expertly and the captain meets it with a sweet hit into the bottom-left corner to beat Ryan!
N. Otamendi
Assist
Argentina
35' It's a rare assist for Otamendi, who was initially sent high up the pitch to attack the Argentina set-piece.
33' Mooy fails to link up with a team-mate, sending his free-kick deep towards the far post, where Molina is able to watch it roll behind for a goal-kick.
31' Acuna loses a race to the ball with McGree, before pushing him over 40 yards from goal. It’s a free-kick to Australia, with Mooy standing over the set-piece.
29' McGree’s corner from the left meets the head of Souttar but the effort fails to trickle through the crowd of bodies, preventing Emiliano Martinez from being called into action.
27' Almost every Australia move forward starts with the ball at Ryan’s feet, with the goalkeeper helping to suck in the press before popping it into space for Mooy. Argentina have been disciplined thus far with just the forwards tracking down the goalkeeper and the midfielders watching the spaces in behind intently.
25' Mooy’s first corner of the game is hit towards the penalty spot but nodded away comfortably by Otamendi.
23' Mooy strides forward in acres of space looking to hit the Argentina defence quickly, but Leckie and Baccus combine and decide to slow down the pace of play before winning a corner from a retreating Albiceleste midfielder.
21' Mac Allister is swarmed by Degenek and Leckie on the left wing, forcing the Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder to give up possession, allowing Australia to enjoy a spell on the ball and halt Argentina’s momentum.
19' Molina loses possession inside his half right in front of the technical area but Behich is unable to overpower De Paul, who tracks back to defend intently inside his own penalty area.
17' Messi spreads play out to the left wing, where Gomez receives the pass with a heavy touch, looking to catch the defenders off-guard while cutting inside. The trick works but the ensuing effort is not as clever, sailing high above the crossbar.
J. Irvine
Yellow Card
Australia
15' Irvine steps across Acuna cynically, sending the full-back up into the air and down with a thud. It’s a yellow card for the midfielder - the first booking of the match.
14' Neither side has had a clean sight of goal with a quarter-hour of the match gone, with most of the play occurring in and around the centre-circle. The state of play certainly benefits the Socceroos, who will be keen to keep Ryan out of the action.
12' Molina is put under significant pressure by McGree near the Argentina penalty area, with the full-back whacking a blind volley up the pitch to avoid chaos at the back.
10' Fernandez drops deep and plays a lovely pass over the top of the defence for the run of Alvarez, who fails to control the ball as it rolls behind for a goal-kick.
8' Australia were comfortably out-possessed in all three of their World Cup matches thus far, with Arnold’s side more focused on work off the ball. It will be a similar scenario today at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, with Argentina’s midfield trio pulling the strings and controlling the tempo.
6' Baccus comes across and gives Messi a shove, extending his elbow to send the Argentina captain to the ground. The referee has a word with Australia the winger before giving the Albiceleste a free-kick just inside the opposition's half.
4' Gomez cuts inside and fires a cross towards the penalty spot that’s immediately cut out by Souttar. The Argentina players instantly protest for a handball on the edge of the 18-yard box, which is denied by match official Szymon Marciniak.
3' Argentina are spending the opening minutes moving the ball from right to left, making sure everybody gets a touch as they inch slowly down the pitch. Australia are pressing intently, defending their half with great spirit; an attitude they’ll need to keep up for the entirety of the game.
1' Australia get the match under way from the kick-off!
Australia make a single alteration from the side that beat Denmark 1-0 last time out, with Baccus replacing Goodwin on the left wing.
Argentina make just one change from the XI that beat Poland 2-0 on Wednesday, with Gomez getting the start ahead of Di Maria.
AUSTRALIA SUBS: Fran Karacic, Thomas Deng, Joel King, Marco Tilio, Andrew Redmayne, Ajdin Hrustic, Craig Goodwin, Awer Mabil, Jason Cummings, Bailey Wright, Garang Kuol, Nathaniel Atkinson, Jamie Maclaren, Cameron Devlin, Danny Vukovic.
AUSTRALIA XI (4-4-2): Mat Ryan; Milos Degenek, Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles, Aziz Behich; Mathew Leckie, Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine, Keanu Baccus; Riley McGree, Mitchell Duke.
ARGENTINA SUBS: Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios, German Pezzella, Guido Rodriguez, Franco Armani, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria, Angel Correa, Lisandro Martinez, Paulo Dybala, Nicolas Tagliafico, Thiago Almada, Gonzalo Montiel, Geronimo Rulli, Juan Foyth.
ARGENTINA XI (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero, Nahuel Molina; Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo De Paul; Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi, Alejandro Gomez.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let’s take a look at how the two sides are lining up - starting with Argentina!
Australia followed up a 4-1 loss to France in the first match of Group D in incredible fashion, stringing together a pair of 1-0 victories over Tunisia and Denmark. The two wins put Graham Arnold’s side into the last 16 of the World Cup for the second time in Socceroos history, after 2006, while a historic result against Argentina would send them into the quarter-finals for the first time ever.
After starting their World Cup campaign on shaky footing - losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia - Argentina have rounded nicely into form, registering back-to-back 2-0 wins against Mexico and Poland. Six points proved to be enough to win Group C, setting up a rare meeting with Australia in what is a landmark match for captain Lionel Messi - his 1,000th game for club and country!
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the World Cup last-16 clash between Argentina and Australia!