Day 14 of the Qatar World Cup sees Argentina captain Lionel Messi give his team their first goal in what would be a 2-1 win over Australia – a win that saw the Argentina squad progress to the quarter-finals and Messi topped the World Cup goal of the Argentinian football legend, the late Diego Maradona.
In Saturday night’s other round of 16, the Netherlands slowly but steadily started to build momentum to score three goals against the USA in what would be a 3-1 defeat for the USA. With this, the Orange has secured a place in a quarter-final confrontation against Argentina.
Here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know from Day 14 — Saturday, December 3 — of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Argentina progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup after a 2–1 win over Australia, with Argentina captain Lionel Messi marking his 1,000th game as a professional footballer by opening the scoring in the 35th minute.
Messi’s goal on Saturday night against Australia at Qatar’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium was his third at this year’s tournament and the ninth of his career in a World Cup, surpassing the previous record set by late Argentine football star Diego Maradona by one.
Stubborn Australia had given Argentina no room before Messi broke through their defence, and teammate Julián Álvarez scored the second goal against Australia in the 57th minute after a foul by Socceroos goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic, however, as Argentina felt the pressure when Australian substitute Craig Goodwin scored in the 77th minute after a deflection from Enzo Fernandez and into the Argentina net.
There was a glimmer of hope in the dying seconds of the game that Australian Garang Kuol would send the teams into extra time with an equalizer, but his shot was stopped by Argentina’s goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
The knockout tie against Argentina proved a game too far for Australia, who had already surpassed expectations by reaching the Round of 16 for the second time ever. Australia also lost in the last 16 in 2006 to eventual champions of the tournament, Italy.
Looking ahead, the quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands will be their sixth World Cup meeting, with Argentina winning the 1978 final 3-1, losing the 1998 quarter-final 2-1 and winning the 2014 semi-final 4-2. penalty kicks after a 0–0 deadlock.
“We controlled the game and could have scored one more…. There were some scary moments, but we made it through,” said Messi, who hopes to finally win the World Cup in his fifth and final attempt.
“It wasn’t easy, but I’m really glad we got through it. We have to play every three days, but we were looking forward to playing for our fans. We have to stand together as a team.”
Australia forward Mathew Leckie said: “It hurts. We came into the game to win. We had a lot of chances and kept ourselves in the game. We saw that we are competitive, have a good fighting spirit and team spirit.”
Although the US got off to a strong start against the Netherlands, it didn’t take long for the Netherlands to get the size of the Stars and Stripes and score three goals to push them through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
American striker Christian Pulisic missed a golden opportunity early on when he had nothing between him and the Dutch goal other than their goalkeeper after just three minutes of play.
But Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert, the tallest man at the World Cup, stuck out his left leg to avoid a shocking game opener.
Dutchman Denzel Dumfries led the counterattack on Saturday night by providing an assist to Memphis Depay, who found the back of the American net in the 10th minute. The brisk start was then replaced by a more languid passage of play as the Netherlands sat back, waiting for more counter-attacks.
A low pass from Dumfries to Daley Blind also resulted in the second Dutch goal just before half-time.
Haji Wright, who came on as a substitute for the USA in the second half, gave his team the first and only goal in the 76th minute.
But just five minutes later it was Dumfries who put the Netherlands two goals ahead again when he scored in the 81st minute, with Daley Blind assisting this time.
The Orange now takes on Argentina in the quarterfinals, as the Argentines won 2-1 against Australia on Saturday.
“That’s a very important win for us,” said Dumfries after the game. “We played a really good game, but I still think we can do better.”
USA coach Gregg Berhalter said, “It’s such a good group of guys, but we fell a little short today, but not for the lack of trying. I am very proud of this group, but bitterly disappointed.”