Online desk |  1 month ago | sport
On his 1,000th appearance in professional football and his 100th game as Argentina captain, Lionel Messi stepped up again to keep his country's World Cup dream alive.
In his fifth World Cup, the 'magician' finally scored his first ever World Cup knockout goal as Argentina took another step to ending their 36-year wait for World Cup glory with a 2-1 second-round win against Australia.
After a nervy opening half-hour, Messi intervened to open the scoring and from there it was mostly plain sailing at an absolutely bouncing Ahmad bin Ali Stadium - until a late goal from the gallant Australians gave Argentina one almighty scare.
The Argentines now face a mouth-watering quarter-final against the Dutch with the hopes of a nation once again inevitably resting on their number 10, who is now the tournament's joint-top scorer with three goals.
Messi, who scored his 789th career goal, said: "I am happy for taking another step forward, achieving another objective. It was a very strong and difficult match."
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand said on BBC One: "The best individual performance from a player at this World Cup. It was almost god-like. I've not seen anything like this.
"How is he doing this? He is embarrassing players with his head up. He's taking people on and is able to see the whole pitch, where people are. He is phenomenal."