Messi starred as Argentina progressed to the World Cup quarters
Lionel Messi starred as Argentina progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Australia.
Messi marked the 1,000th senior game of his career with a measured finish for the breakthrough goal late in the first half, and Mat Ryan's error allowed Julian Alvarez to double the advantage early in the second.
There were late scares for Argentina after Craig Goodwin's shot deflected in off Enzo Fernandez, and it needed a dramatic tackle from Lisandro Martinez and a fine save from Emiliano Martinez for them to hold on.
Following their group-stage heroics, Australia were looking to spring another surprise and had hope courtesy of Goodwin's 20-yard drive that took a fortuitous deflection with 13 minutes remaining.
They could have taken the game to extra time when full-back Behich embarked on a mazy run to beat numerous defenders, but Martinez reacted in the nick of time.
It was his 789th career goal, 94 of those coming for Argentina, and Messi is now the joint top goalscorer in Qatar.
The 35 year old was winning his 169th cap for his country and they needed his brilliance to take them through to the next round and a tantalising tie against the Netherlands on Friday.