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Messi ends knockout hoodoo, Netherlands down USA… highlights of World Cup Day 14

Messi ends knockout hoodoo, Netherlands down USA… highlights of World Cup Day 14
December 04
08:40 2022

Lionel Messi marked his 1000th career appearance with his first-ever goal in the World Cup knockout stage on Saturday.

The exhilarating game saw Argentina reach the quarter-final with a 2-1 win over Australia.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner also surpassed Diego Maradona and Guillermo Stabile’s tallies of eight World Cup goals — only Gabriel Batistuta (10) has now outscored Messi in Argentine colours at the tournament.

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Here are five major talking points from Day 14.

Dumfries inspires Oranje Boys

Inter Milan full-back Denzel Dumfries starred with a goal and two assists for the Netherlands as they became the first team to reach the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup with a convincing 3-1 victory over the United States on Saturday.

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It was a classy performance from Dumfries who commandeered his territory and inspired the Oranje Boys.

Memphis Depay and Daley Blind were also on the mark for the Netherlands, while substitute Haji Wright scored the only goal for the USA.

Messi the record breaker

Argentina skipper Lionel Messi has broken Diego Maradona’s record by scoring his ninth goal at a World Cup finals.

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Messi also scored his 789th goal in the game, his first in the knockout stage of the World Cup.

Although the Paris Saint-Germain star had scored in three World Cups prior to 2022, he had never netted in a knockout game. After finding the target twice in the group stages, he finally broke his knockout stage duck on Saturday.

Positives for the USA

The Americans proved beyond doubt at the 2022 World Cup that their all-round quality has considerably improved.

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Despite crashing out against the Netherlands in the knockout stage, the USA were unbeaten in the group stage — a remarkable feat.

The likes of Christian Pulisic, Haji Wright, Sergio Dest and Timothy Weah showed that they can, if well-managed, ultimately mature into a global force.

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Brillant Noppert

Goalkeeper Andries Noppert made several saves as the Netherlands extended their unbeaten run — since Louis van Gaal returned as coach last year — to 19 games.

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The relatively known goalkeeper deserves a special commendation for his performance against the Dutch team.

Australia’s spirited fight

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The Socceroos have won admirers with their discipline and tactical approach to the game.

They won matches against Tunisia and Denmark in the group stage — and when they came up against Argentina, their newfound spine of steel was evident to all.

Despite going 2-0 down, the Australians were undeterred as they pushed on to reduce the deficit, and even came close to levelling the game in the final minute of additional time.

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