Messi is a footballing God! Argentina winners, losers & ratings as Leo carries Scaloni's side into World Cup quarter-finals
Lionel Messi has his first goal in the knockout stage of a World Cup, and boy was it a crucial one, with the Argentina captain breaking the deadlock out of nowhere in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Australia.
Up until that point, the Socceroos had frustrated the life out of the Argentina fans, who once again took over nearly an entire stadium here in Qatar.
They had come to see Lionel Messi mark the 1000th game of his incredible career with another masterclass, and they eventually got one, but, for the first 35 minutes, pretty much nothing happened.
The No.10 was quickly surrounded by yellow shirts every time he received the ball and he struggled to impose himself on the proceedings.
Nobody else in an Argentine shirt looked like making a breakthrough either.
If history has taught us anything, though, it's that Messi only needs a split second to score, and that's precisely what he did, reacting first to what looked more like a loose touch than a lay-off from Nicolas Otamendi.
That lethal left foot took care of the rest, with the Paris Saint-Germain star simply passing the ball into the bottom corner of the Australia net.
Julian Alvarez then took advantage of a shocking mistake from Mathew Ryan to make it 2-0 and although Australia set up a tense finale courtesy of a speculative shot from Craig Goodwin that deflected in off Enzo Fernandez, Argentina held on thanks to a terrific late block from Lisandro Martinez, and a fine stop from namesake Emiliano.
Below, GOAL breaks down the winners, losers and ratings from another memorable night for Messi's Argentina...