Lionel Messi believes Argentina's World Cup match against Australia will be 'very difficult'
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As Argentina defeated Poland 2-0 at Stadium 974 to top Group C, the team has now qualified for the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Australia similarly progress to the next round of the tournament after a thrilling 1-0 win against Denmark.
However, as Messi prepares for the upcoming top 16 match against the Socceroos, the football superstar admits a challenging uphill battle lies ahead.
“The match against Australia is going to be very difficult. Anyone can beat anyone, everything is very even. We have to prepare the game in the best way as we always do,” he said, according to The Guardian.
Do we sense a bit of fear in Messi’s voice?
He added: “We must be calm and go game by game. Now another World Cup begins and hopefully we can continue to maintain what we did today.
“I was angry for having missed the penalty, but the team came out stronger after that mistake of mine. We knew that once the first goal went in, it would change the game.”
Messi will no doubt be channelling some of this rage when he comes up against the lads in the green.
Australia defeated Denmark after Matthew Leckie kicked a stunning goal in the 60th minute.
ABC News reported that the attacking midfielder was over the moon with his first goal of the tournament.
He said: "As the ball was rolling in, I saw it going in, I was so excited and so happy," Leckie said after the match.
"By the celebration you see how much emotion there was.
"I'm just so proud. We've worked so hard. This is my third World Cup now and I've had my chances in previous World Cups to score, wasn't meant to be.
"My first World Cup [goal] is probably one of the most important goals for me and for the team."
However, when coach Graham Arnold was asked how the team would celebrate their win, it was clear he already had his sights set on Messi.
"No celebrations," he said, as per ABC News.
"As I said to the boys, that's why we won after a great win against Tunisia. No celebrations, no emotion. Sleep. No social media."
Australia will face Argentina this coming Sunday (December 4) at 6:00am AEDT.