Lionel Messi was at his vintage best as he produced a scintillating performance to help Argentina get the better of Australia to seal a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a beautifully taken shot that curled into the bottom corner.
Messi continued to drive his side forward and create chances for his teammates as they looked to double their lead in the second half.
Julian Alvarez made it 2-0 in the 57th minute after an error from Australia goalkeeper Matthew Ryan.
The Socceroos got back in the game after an own goal by Enzo Fernandez in the 77th minute, but Argentina held on for a vital win.
Though there were some promising individual displays, Messi was still head and shoulders above everyone on the pitch.
Messi’s goal was without a doubt the moment of the match. After some intricate play with Alexis Mac Allister, Messi was found brilliantly by Rodrigo De Paul. Messi then curled the ball into the net, he made it look so simple but it was anything but easy. A truly sublime finish.
Player Rating: 9.5/10
A near-perfect performance from the Argentina captain earns him a near-perfect rating. Unplayable, untouchable and unbelievable are a few of the many superlatives that can be used to describe Messi’s stunning display. He has always left football fans in awe of his magnificence and will continue to do so.
What was said about his performance:
Perhaps to no surprise, many pundits were purring over Messi’s display.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said on BBC: “Messi has put on the best individual performance we have seen at this World Cup by a mile.
“The crowd, it was almost godlike after anything he had done. We were almost watching the reaction from the fans to everything he did.”
Ex-England striker Alan Shearer added: “[We are] so lucky to be in the stadium to watch him. What a second-half performance from him.”
There isn’t much more to say about Messi, he is simply too good when he is in the mood. Argentina will always be fancied to win when their little magician is on the pitch.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@MatchCompsCL
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