The Albiceleste and Socceroos went toe to toe a short time ago.
With confidence high in the camp on the back of a pair of successive victories en route to table-topping status in Group C, Lionel Scaloni’s Argentinians headed into proceedings as overwhelming favourites to book their spot in the competition’s quarter-finals.
In turn, it did not come as a massive surprise when it was indeed the South American champions who went on to open the scoring in Al-Rayyan.
Latching onto a loose Nicolas Otamendi touch inside the Australian penalty area, Lionel Messi bagged the first World Cup knockout goal of his career, courtesy of a trademark left-footed finish into the far corner:
Argentina then appeared to have put the clash to bed to bed as a contest just shy of the hour mark, upon Julian Alvarez capitalising on a needless error on the part of Australia no.1 Matt Ryan.
Australia, though, refused to lie down and accept defeat, and were rewarded for their perseverance inside the closing quarter of an hour.
This came as substitute Craig Goodwin’s speculative long-range effort took the mightiest of deflections, to nestle in the far corner of Emi Martinez’s net.
From here, to their credit, Graham Arnold’s side pushed hard for an equaliser, and may well have found it if not for, first, a moment of world-class defending from Manchester United star Lisandro Martinez, and later a last-gasp save on the part of namesake Emi Martinez.
In the end, though, Argentina did enough to secure the win, in the process booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup.
- Emi Martinez - 6
- Nahuel Molina - 5.5
- Cristian Romero - 6
- Nicolas Otamendi - 6.5
- Marcos Acuna - 6.5
- Enzo Fernandez - 6
- Rodrigo De Paul - 7.5
- Alexis MacAllister - 6
- Lionel Messi - 9
- Papu Gomez - 6
- Julian Alvarez - 7.5
Substitutes: Lisandro Martinez - 7, Lautaro Martinez - 3, Nicolas Tagliafico - 5, Exequiel Palacios - N/A, Gonzalo Montiel - N/A
- Maty Ryan - 3.5
- Milos Degenek - 5.5
- Harry Souttar - 6.5
- Kye Rowles - 6.5
- Aziz Behich 6
- Mathew Leckie - 5
- Aaron Mooy - 6
- Jackson Irvine - 5.5
- Keanu Baccus - 5
- Riley McGree - 5.5
- Mitchell Duke - 4.5
Substitutes: Craig Goodwin - 6.5, Ajdin Hrustic - 6, Garang Kuol - 5, Fran Karacic - 6, Jamie MacLaren - 5