Football fans heaped praise on Lionel Messi as he produced a moment of trademark quality to score the opener in a 2-1 win over Australia and send Argentina into the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Saturday.
Messi opened the scoring for Argentina in the 35th minute. In his first attempt, Australia defender Harry Souttar managed to block the shot, but Nicolas Otamendi grabbed the ball and set up Messi in the area. The PSG star cut through Australia’s defence to put Argentina ahead in the game.
It was his 789th goal in his 1,000th career appearance - but first in the knockout rounds of the World Cup - helped set up a last-eight clash with the unbeaten Netherlands on Friday.
This was Messi’s third goal in the tournament, getting him past Argentine legend Diego Maradona in World Cup goals. Messi has scored in every World Cup match, except in the game against Poland, where he missed a penalty.
Julian Alvarez scored the other in the 57th minute after some calamitous Australian defending, before Enzo Fernandez’s 77th-minute own goal set up an unexpectedly nervy finale.
Messi is looking to win his first World Cup.
As he dazzled the fans, players and pundits alike, here is how the social media reacted to his remarkable performance against Australia.
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Rio Ferdinand calls it ‘best individual performance’
“Messi has given the best individual performance we’ve seen at this World Cup so far. By a mile.”
— Rio Ferdinand, former England defender.
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