How a Socceroos foul ignited Lionel Messi’s ‘fire’ | World Cup 2022

Oh have done it now… As soon as it happened, the Argentine players knew there was only one way to end the game. Anyone who has seen Lionel Messi many times has, and there is a lot to love about him. The scene of his 1,000th match, his team-mate Alexis Mac Allister laughing as they left the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, was clearly inevitable. Australia picks the wrong guy: That’s not a knife, this It is a knife.

With 10 minutes to go and little sign of a breakthrough, Messi lost the ball on his last two possessions when he clashed with Aziz Besic on the right touchline. Dundee United players broke into his side, grabbed his shirt and said a word or five. He also conceded a free kick for a foul on Alejandro Gomez shortly after. Messi took the free kick, very fast. Within seconds, Argentina had taken the lead and their captain scored the 789th goal of his career – Seven hundred and eighty nine – It was his first in a World Cup knockout.

Crossing the touchline, Messi rolled the ball towards McAllister, turned and continued towards the area. “I always try to get the ball to him, try to make sure it gets to him because if he has the ball it’s a lot easier,” the midfielder said after three hours, but this time it was different up. And yet, even in one of those rare moments when he wasn’t looking for Messi, he still found him, like the ball had a will of its own. And, let’s face it, whose feet would you rather have the ball land on?

“The pass was for Otamendi but it was for Messi, which surprised me a bit,” McAllister admitted, and if it was by accident, mission accomplished. Otamendi lost control — “I told Leo it was an assist,” he later joked — but Messi saved it, touching the ball and delivering another pass, this time into the net. The shot went through the leg of Stoke City’s Harisutar – alas, it was neither wet nor Wednesday – and out of Matti Lane’s dive. This was Argentina’s first shot on target and the first time he entered the penalty area.

Argentina's Lionel Messi kept three Australian defenders behind.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi kept three Australian defenders behind. Photo: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images

“It’s probably the only chance I’ll get to share the court with arguably the greatest man of all time. [and] It was a bit surreal, a moment of final reflection: to look back and say you had to compete with one of the greatest,” said Australia’s Jackson Owen. “What stood out the most was his understanding of the game, how he picked and picked him moments to live. When he does, it’s hard for him to stop. We controlled him well for most of the first half, but it was just that moment, half a meter you give him. We’ve seen it hundreds of times: so relentless, so cool, and ultimately that’s the difference. “

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There is only one question. Did Messi choose that moment himself? Or did Behich – who, it should be said, almost scored the World Cup goal when he looked more like Messi than Messi – accidentally chose the ball for him? A rule that dates back a few years is: do not be angry “La Purga”Behich did it, awakened something inside him, awakened the wildness inside him, and the payoff was quick. After all, McAllister laughed when it was later said that Argentine players’ first thought when they saw a foul was “oh, you fool” and that they could have seen it coming. “Of course, of course,” he replied.

“When these things happen it sparks a fire in him, it brings out his personality and it makes him bigger than he is,” said the Brighton midfielder. “He’s always trying to be the best he can be, but those moments work for him, they work: He’s playing better, he’s even greater in the game. He’s got those touches that come out of nowhere and make you win the game.”

“He’s the most important player we’ve had: He knows it, he’s helped us a lot and we’re proud to have him,” McAllister said. “I love playing with him, it makes me happy: for me he is the best player in the history of the world.”

Not everyone agrees to go home. Mac Allister’s father, Carlos “Colorado” Mac Allister made just three caps for Argentina, his international career lasting less than a month and playing two games against Australia in the playoffs of the 1994 World Cup, And a friendly against Germany. middle. At least he could, and always did, say that his captain at the time was another great Argentine No.10, Diego Maradona. His son’s captain is the one trying to emulate him.

“We’ve always had that argument,” McAllister Jr. said. “Maradona was very important to my father, not only in his professional life but also in his personal life, and he is very grateful. For me, to be able to play with him next to Leo It’s my pride. For me, obviously he’s the best in history. We argue: he says Maradona is the best ever; I say Messi. I think it’s a game that will never end discussion.”

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