The World Cup round of 16 got under way on Saturday with two enticing fixtures.
Here’s what went down.
Messi magic helps Argentina see off Australia
Scorers: Messi 35′, Álvarez 57′; Goodwin 77′.
Argentina survived a late Australian fightback to set up a quarter-final clash with the Netherlands.
Australia frustrated Lionel Scaloni’s side for the majority of the first half, restricting them to just one shot but it was Lionel Messi who found a way to make the breakthrough on his 1,000th career appearance.
The Argentinian number 10, making his 1,000th career appearance, slotted a left-footed effort into the bottom corner after Alexis MacAllister’s pass was flicked into his path by Nicolás Otamendi at the edge of the box.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Argentina controlling the possession but not managing to break down the Aussie revolve on regular occasions until a glaring mistake by goalkeeper Matthew Ryan gifted them a second goal.
Ryan attempted to bring the ball out of his goal and found himself under pressure by Rodrigo De Paul, he lost control of the ball which allowed Àlvarez to poke into an empty net.
That looked to put the game beyond doubt but Graham Arnold’s men found a way back into the encounter out of nothing when substiute Craig Goodwin’s effort from 25-yards took a huge deflection off Enzo Fernandez and left Emi Martínez stranded.
Aziz Behich then nearly produced the moment of the tournament, going on a mazy run and beating three Argentinian defenders in the box before Lisandro Martínez pulled off a goal-saving last-ditch challenge to divert his shot away.
Argentina held out to move into the last-eight where they will meet the Netherlands on Friday.
Denzel disappoints Washington as Dutch eliminate USA
Scorers: Depay 10′, Blind 45+1′, Dumfries 81′; Wright 76′
Denzel Dumfries managed a goal and two assists as the Netherlands beat USA to book their place in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Christian Pulisic had a golden chance to give USA the lead when he found himself clean through on goal in the early minutes, but Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppert came to his side’s rescue with a big save.
And they were made to rue that miss when the Dutch took the lead in the 10th minute. Dumfries found Memphis Depay with an excellent cut-back on the edge of the area, and the striker swept home with aplomb for 1-0.
The second Oranje goal came in similar fashion in first half stoppage time. Dumfries was again the provider and this time his cut-back found Daley Blind to finish into the bottom corner.
Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal made two substitutions at half-time, with Steven Bergwijn and Teun Koopmeiners coming on for Davy Klaasen and Martin De Roon, while Giovanni Reyna replaced Jesús Ferreira for USA.
Weston McKennie went close to pulling one back for the US when his header was cleared off the line by Cody Gakpo early in the second half, before goalkeeper Matt Turner had to be alert to prevent his side falling 3-0 behind to a Walker Zimmermann own goal at the other end.
Turner again came to his side’s rescue in the 72nd minute with an excellent double save to deny first Koopmeiners from range, and then Depay from the rebound.
USA substitute Haji Wright then had a great chance to pull a goal back when he latched on to a poor backpass from Depay, but his attempt to round the goalkeeper took him too far wide.
However, from the resulting corner Wright did score when his touch on Pulisic’s cross looped wildly over Noppert and in for 2-1.
But it was the Dutch who struck again five minutes later, when Blind found Dumfries with a cross to the back post and the wing-back volleyed home to add a goal to his two assists