Photos: Messi scores, Argentina advance to World Cup last 8

Lionel Messi marked his 1,000th professional appearance with his first goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup, leading Argentina to the quarter-finals in a 2-1 victory over a spirited Australian team.

The 35-year-old Saturday put Argentina ahead in the 35th minute with his third goal of this year’s tournament and ninth overall at the World Cup – one more than the late Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

Julian Alvarez pounced on a heavy touch from Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and tapped into an empty net for the second goal as Argentina set up a meeting with the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Australia scored a consolation goal in the 77th minute when Craig Goodwin’s shot went into the net on Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Australia’s squad of unannounced players have gone one game too far at a World Cup in which the team has surpassed expectations by reaching the knockout stages for the second time. Australia also lost to eventual champions Italy in the last 16 in 2006.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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