Indoors!  Argentina went to the quarterfinals

Indoors! Argentina went to the quarterfinals

Photo: Fernando Gens.

Argentina confirmed its previous favoritism, beating Australia 2-1 this Saturday and settled in the quarterfinals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup in a match played at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium before more than 40,000 fans excited about the consecration.

Captain Lionel Messi, in the 1,000th match of his professional career, showed the way to qualifying after 35 minutes with his third goal in this edition, which left him one behind Gabriel Batistuta (10), the top Argentine scorer in the competition history.

Photo Fernando Gens
Photo: Fernando Gens.

Julián Álvarez extended the lead at 12 minutes into the second half and Australia discounted with a goal from Enzo Fernández against at 32 minutes of the same stage.

Argentina reached the quarterfinals for the seventh time since 1986, when the tournament acquired the current format, and will face the Netherlands, next Friday from 4:00 p.m. in Lusail.

With tactical discipline and physical rigor, Australia made things clear from the start: it would not be an easy game, as coach Lionel Scaloni foresaw. After all, it was a round of 16 World Cup crossover.

Photo Fernando Gens
Photo: Fernando Gens.

Argentina sought to establish the conditions by hierarchy but did not have opportunities to put a footballer in front of the play and with room to progress.

Messi was then surrounded by yellow shirts, with his back turned and a touch so as not to expose himself to the harsh Australian tackles, of which he was the victim twice, the work of Keanu Baccus and the giant Harry Souttar.

“Papu” Gómez locked himself in on the right, Julián couldn’t find his place on the field and the Argentine midfielders were complicated by the Australian pressure, as had happened in their debut with Saudi Arabia.

Photo Fernando Gens
Photo: Fernando Gens.

After 20 minutes, when the encouragement of the Argentine public lowered its intensity -as a result of the difficulty of the game-, Australia settled definitively on the field and caused two corner kicks, a key way in their strategy to win the game.

The oceanicians lined up four footballers taller than 1.85 meters in their formation and intimidated with their bearing every time they placed their air force near “Dibu” Martínez’s goal.

The greatest complexity for Argentina would be reaching the first goal, the one that could alter the scenario, but the team was not even able to finish off the goal because in the only attempt, at 16 minutes, “Papu” Gómez made it very wide.

The first shot into the Australian quarter, in fact, was Messi’s goal, which came from a second play from a corner kick. Mac Allister placed him in the area with a low pass, Otamendi stopped it and Leo, facing the goal, put the ball into Ryan’s right post with his surgical left foot.

Photo Fernando Gens
Photo: Fernando Gens.

There was still a long game to go and Australia did not change its position on the field, but the goal gave Scaloni’s team the chance to develop a game with patience, without the pressure of that tortuous enemy that sometimes means the clock.

The Argentine DT surprised with the change of Lisandro Martínez for “Papu”, which implied the formation of a defensive line of three or five, depending on interpretations. The intention was clear: expand the field with the rise of Molina and Acuña and create internal spaces to reach the Australian box.

With this new provision, Argentina got the second goal, which had a silent author: De Paul. In a goal exit from the rival, the Atlético de Madrid footballer ran them all and caused Ryan’s mistake, capitalized on by an attentive Julián.

The “albiceleste” party was served: crazy fans in the stands and a team at ease: “Boys, now we are excited again, I want to win the third, I want to be world champion…”.

Photo Fernando Gens
Photo: Fernando Gens.

However, an unfortunate goal by Enzo Fernández against, after a shot from the admitted Craig Goodwin, added an unexpected share of drama to the game.

With no more arguments than those shown before the discount but with the logical motivation of being just one goal down, the Oceanicians twice faced the tie.

A saving cross by Lisandro Martínez and a cover by “Dibu” in discount caused palpitations in the Argentines, after two incredibly lost chances by Lautaro.

The whistle of the Pole Szymon Marciniak generated the explosion of the Ahmad bin Ali, scene of an endless celebration between the public and the players. Argentina is once again in the top eight.

the party broke out

After the match, the players celebrated on the field of play the classification that puts them in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Photo Maximiliano Luna
Photo: Maximiliano Luna.

Photo Maximiliano Luna
Photo: Maximiliano Luna.



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