News ID: 109738
Publish Date : 04 December 2022 - 21:55

Messi, Scaloni Expect Hard Fight With Old Rivals Netherlands

(Dispatches) – Argentina captain Lionel Messi and coach Lionel Scaloni predicted a tough but beautiful encounter with the Netherlands when the sides meet in Friday’s World Cup quarterfinal.
Argentina beat Australia 2-1 while the Netherlands defeated the United States 3-1 on Saturday to set up a tantalising clash between two of the great teams of world football who famously met in the 1978 World Cup final which the South Americans won.
Noting the age gap, Scaloni, 44, said he had since his early playing days been an admirer of Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, 71.
Scaloni said he was delighted with his players, who have won three games in a row at the World Cup in Qatar after their shock opening defeat by Saudi Arabia.
Messi Celebrates 1,000th Game With Goal
Lionel Messi celebrated the 1,000th game of his career with the opening goal as Argentina qualified for a World Cup quarterfinal against the Netherlands, who also won on Saturday.
Messi broke the deadlock in the 35th minute in his side’s 2-1 win over Australia which was much closer than expected, with a typical left-footed shot that had Australian keeper Mathew Ryan slightly unsighted. It was his ninth goal in the World Cup, but the first in the knockout stage.
Ryan had a moment he will want to forget in the 57th minute, when he was dispossessed from behind by Argentina striker Julian Alvarez, who hooked the ball into the empty net.
Those two moments undid a solid hour’s work from the Socceroos, but they made a massive effort to stay in the game as Argentina looked to pass the ball and kill off any chance of a reaction.