Lionel Messi starred as Argentina progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Australia.
Messi marked the 1,000th senior game of his career with a measured finish for the breakthrough goal late in the first half and Mat Ryan’s error allowed Julian Alvarez to double the advantage early in the second.
There were late scares for Argentina after Craig Goodwin’s shot deflected in off Enzo Fernandez and it needed a dramatic tackle from Lisandro Martinez and a fine save from Emiliano Martinez for them to hold on.
It was a spirited effort from Graham Arnold’s side who can be proud of their tournament but it is Messi and Argentina who will face the Netherlands in the last eight. This is not always a fluent Argentina side but with the little genius in the team, they can dream.
Denzel Dumfries starred as the Netherlands saw off a spirited second half from the USA to win their last-16 tie 3-1 and book their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
First-half goals from Memphis Depay (10) and Daley Blind (45+1), swept home in similar fashion from Dumfries crosses, put the Dutch in control but the USA forced both the Inter Milan defender and Cody Gakpo to clear off the line before Haji Wright produced an “impossible” 76th-minute finish to set up a big finale.
However, standout performer Dumfries ended their hopes of a dramatic turnaround, volleying in Blind’s cross in the 83rd minute to secure the victory.
USA had been boosted by Christian Pulisic being passed fit to play but the Chelsea forward wasted a glorious opening just three minutes in, shooting at Andries Noppert when clean through.
From then on, the Netherlands soaked up the pressure well through the first half and repeatedly threatened on the counter-attack – an effective tactical ploy from Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, whose sole defeat in his 11 World Cup matches in charge to date came on penalties against Argentina in 2014.