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Lionel Messi Wows Fans as Argentina Beat Australia in 2022 World Cup

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 3, 2022

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 03: Argentina's Lionel Messi during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Lionel Messi further cemented his legendary status Saturday, as his goal in the first half helped Argentina defeat Australia 2-1 in the round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Playing in his 1,000th career match, Messi made magic again, sneaking a ball through multiple defenders and past goalkeeper Mathew Ryan with his left foot in the 35th minute:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MESSI MAGIC ✨🇦🇷<br><br>That's the first knockout stage goal in Messi's FIFA World Cup career <a href="https://t.co/wyzfdVfby3">pic.twitter.com/wyzfdVfby3</a>

The goal was historic for many reasons, at it marked Messi's first in the World Cup knockout rounds, put him past Diego Maradona for the second-most goals by an Argentine at the World Cup and gave him 789 career goals across all competitions:

B/R Football @brfootball

LEO MESSI SCORES HIS FIRST WORLD CUP KNOCKOUT GOAL 🇦🇷 <a href="https://t.co/9VuhTDUC5t">pic.twitter.com/9VuhTDUC5t</a>

B/R Football @brfootball

10—Gabriel Batistuta<br>9—Lionel Messi<br>8—Diego Maradona<br><br>Messi becomes Argentina's second-highest scorer at the World Cup ⚽ <a href="https://t.co/3ZPzVg6Wa2">pic.twitter.com/3ZPzVg6Wa2</a>

Tom Warren @tomwarren

Lionel Messi has now scored 789 goals in 1,000 appearances. Incredible <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Messi%F0%93%83%B5?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Messi𓃵</a> 🐐 <a href="https://t.co/TNtx3Ar8nH">pic.twitter.com/TNtx3Ar8nH</a>

Messi's goal was also his third of the tournament.

Given the low probability that Messi's strike would find the back of the net Saturday, fans marveled at his continued elite level of play and ability to carry the burden for Argentina on the international stage:

MC @CrewsMat10

Messi has 2 open play goals in this World Cup. They have a combined xG of 0.06<br><br>Defying the odds. <a href="https://t.co/QDzqI0LuqD">pic.twitter.com/QDzqI0LuqD</a>

Tommy 🎩 @Shelby_Messi

35 years old Lionel Messi has most G/A in this world cup. <a href="https://t.co/y9E1XGmW3T">pic.twitter.com/y9E1XGmW3T</a>

Troll Football @TrollFootball

Messi carrying Argentina like <a href="https://t.co/DIcswbU825">pic.twitter.com/DIcswbU825</a>

Keef🇵🇷 @BrooklynGooner4

THE GOAT <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MESSI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MESSI</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Argentina?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Argentina</a> <a href="https://t.co/mGSSwGn14R">pic.twitter.com/mGSSwGn14R</a>

ESPN UK @ESPNUK

Messi is a man on a mission 😤🏆 <a href="https://t.co/H34IN0hmk7">pic.twitter.com/H34IN0hmk7</a>

VERSUS @vsrsus

Leo Messi. The GOAT for a reason. <a href="https://t.co/xJ34CE7l0y">pic.twitter.com/xJ34CE7l0y</a>

Samuel @SamueILFC

Lionel Messi. The greatest to ever do it. 🐐 <a href="https://t.co/uejUv74MpN">pic.twitter.com/uejUv74MpN</a>

In what is expected to be Messi's final World Cup, La Albiceleste entered the tournament as one of the top contenders to win it all.

Argentina got off to a nightmarish start, though, losing its opener to Saudi Arabia 2-1. Since then, Messi and Argentina have been on a roll, reeling off wins over Mexico, Poland and Australia.

While Argentina is one of only six nations to win multiple World Cups, it has not done so since 1986. It came close in 2014 with Messi leading the way, but Germany won after extra time in the final.

Now, Argentina is just three wins from winning its third World Cup, and it may have as good of a chance as any team remaining because of how Messi has been playing.

Messi and Argentina's next chance to take another step toward the trophy will come Friday against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.