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Lionel Messi, the captain of Argentina, names two of his teammates as the best performers in the match against Australia.

Argentina talisman Lionel Messi has praised central defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Cristian Romero for their performances in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 win over Australia.

Riding on Messi’s brilliance, La Albiceleste topped their group and then defeated Australia in the Round of 16 to book a spot in the last eight of the tournament. Lionel Messi scored in Argentina’s 2-1 win over the Socceroos in the last 16 and was by far the best player on the pitch.

For his heroics, he was named the Player of the Match but when asked who he would single out for a solid performance in the match, he named Otamendi and Romero.

“We were all on top form. If I had to single someone out today. Otamendi and Romero have been impressive.

“They have been key players in each match. Once again, their defence was impressive. But everyone deserved it (Man of the Match) because we gave it our all.

“But if I had to single someone out, they have been putting in a lot of effort to win since the start of the World Cup,” Messi told FIFA.

High praise for his defenders 🙌

@Budweiser Player of the Match, Lionel Messi, singled out Argentina’s centre-backs following their Round of 16 victory against Australia 🇦🇷

#ARGAUS @budfootball #POTM #YoursToTake #BringHomeTheBud

The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star’s 35th-minute strike was followed by a Julian Alvarez goal in the 57th minute. Australia got one back through an Enzo Fernandez own-goal in the 77th minute but the South American giants held on to book a quarterfinals spot.

Lionel Messi breaks Diego Maradona’s World Cup record

Lionel Messi scored his third goal of the ongoing World Cup against Australia, taking his tally to nine goals in the quadrennial tournament.

This is the Argentine’s fifth World Cup finals appearance, and he has now scored more than Diego Maradona in football’s biggest competition. Messi is now second only to Gabriel Batistuta (10 goals) in the all-time list of World Cup goals scored for Argentina.

Australia players waiting to meet Lionel Messi.

The Round of 16 appearance against Australia was also Messi’s 1000th match for club and country, and he marked it with an all-important goal. The 2-1 win for La Albiceleste confirmed an Argentina vs Netherlands quarter-final encounter, which will be played on Friday, December 9.

It remains to be seen whether the PSG forward will lead his national side to the semifinals of the Qatar World Cup or if Louis van Gaal’s men spoil his party.

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