Football World Cup Qatar, day 14: Messi performs magic, Argentina trembles: Narrow victory against Australia – Oranje confidently against USA

Argentina is the second team in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar.

Football World Cup Qatar, day 14: Messi performs magic, Argentina trembles: Narrow victory against Australia – Oranje confidently against USA

Argentina is the second team in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar. Captain Lionel Messi (35th minute) and Julian Álvarez (57th) scored in the 2-1 (1-0) win against Australia in the round of 16 on Saturday evening. The Socceroos made it exciting again with an untenable deflected hit after a shot by Craig Goodwin (67th), which was ruled an own goal by Enzo Fernández.

It was Messi's first knockout round goal at a World Cup in his 1,000th professional game. With his ninth goal in a World Cup, he overtook Diego Maradona (8) and is now Argentina's sole World Cup record goalscorer.

The much-criticized Louis van Gaal celebrated with the Netherlands the entry into the quarter-finals of the World Cup and increased the delicate hopes of Oranje for the title. After a performance that was clarified over long stretches, Elftal only had to worry about progressing 3-1 (2-0) against a passionately fighting US selection on Saturday. Twelve years after the last World Cup final at the tournament in South Africa, Holland is hoping to take part in the final on December 18 - but van Gaal's ensemble cannot afford to falter, as in the second half against the USA. Opponents in Friday's quarterfinals are either Lionel Messi and Argentina or Australia.

In the first and not very atmospheric round of 16 on Saturday in the Chalifa International Stadium, van Gaal was delighted on his coaching bench with the goals played, some of which were very impressive - and that he had shown it to the critics of his style of play. The weak phase after the break should have annoyed him.

In front of 44,846 fans, Memphis Depay (10th minute), Daley Blind (45th 1) and the outstanding Denzel Dumfries (81st) and the outstanding Denzel Dumfries (81st) documented the difference between a real title contender and a talented but not yet mature national team. The young US selection around goalscorer Haji Wright (76th) then showed what mentality is in them - and came back into the game impressively. In doing so, she aroused anticipation at home with high ratings for the World Cup in four years, which she is hosting together with Mexico and Canada.

The Americans around the star Christian Pulisic, who recovered in time, put in a committed performance, but after the effective goal to make it 0-1, they were only able to make a decisive impression in the final phase, despite some good advances and opportunities. With the effectiveness of the Dutch, who have been unbeaten since van Gaal took office in September 2021, more would have been possible.

The fact that Daley Blind increased to 2:0 before half-time and thus decided the game early fitted perfectly into van Gaal's strategy. Blind, who has been playing with a pacemaker since the end of 2019, celebrated only his third goal in his 98th international match in the arms of Wout Weghorst.

Pulisic, who suffered a bruised pelvis in the celebrated 1-0 winning goal against Iran, was able to set the tone after a big missed chance against goalkeeper Andries Noppert in his fourth international match (3rd). Intensively worked by Jurrien Timber, the ex-Dortmunder could not develop as in the previous games. His colleagues like Tim Ream (52nd), Weston McKennie (54th) or Wright (75th) appeared dangerously up front - but in the end the callousness was too often missing.

Berhalter, once a professional in the Netherlands in the 1990s, tried to turn the tide again through changes - including Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna - and, like last time in 2002, to reach the quarter-finals. On the other side, Matt Turner kept his team in the game, but the Dutch also played their attacks sloppily to the end.

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