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"Let's shock the world" - Australia not backing down ahead of clash against Lionel Messi's Argentina in the FIFA World Cup

Australia have the brutal task of facing Lionel Messi
Australia have the brutal task of facing Lionel Messi's Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Australia's 2022 FIFA World Cup celebrations after their win against Denmark were met with the sobering reality of facing Lionel Messi's Argentina in the last 16 of the competition.

The Socceroos secured a monumental 1-0 group-stage win against Denmark on 30 November to confirm their qualification to the knockout rounds. Mathew Leckie's second-half goal was enough to seal their place as Group D runner-ups.

La Albiceleste steered their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in the right direction after a 2-1 loss against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wins against Mexico and Poland ensured they made the last 16 of the tournament as group winners.

This is only the second time in Australia's history that they have made it to the knockout rounds of the FIFA World Cup. The first instance came in 2006 when they made it to the last 16 but lost to a 10-men Italy side by a 1-0 scoreline.

Argentina will wear the home kit vs. Australia. πŸ‡¦πŸ‡· https://t.co/gNT3IHgBvY

Argentina, led by the mesmeric Lionel Messi, are billed as one of the heavy favorites to win the tournament in Qatar. But Leckie, who was Australia's hero against the Danes, backs his nation to cause an upset.

The Melbourne City FC winger reserved praise for Lionel Messi in a recent interview and said (h/t Telegraph India):

"He (Lionel Messi) just does things that, you know, no one else can do."

Leckie, who has 14 goals in 76 senior caps for his country, added:

"No one expects us to win. So let’s shock the world.”

The two teams will clash at the Ahmad bin Ali Ahmad Stadium on 3 November. Australia have only beaten Argentina once in seven tries in their history, while the two-time World Cup winners have won on five of those occasions.

Australia v Argentina in 1988. Australia won 4-1 thanks to two goals to Charlie Yankos. Fourth from left is former Socceroos coach Frank Farina. Third from left - Graham Arnold. #ARGAUS https://t.co/hhPOrc1Z3P

Lionel Messi not being complacent ahead of Argentina vs Australia FIFA World Cup showdown

Lionel Messi is bidding to win the FIFA World Cup in what could be his last appearance in the competition.

Argentina were once staring down the barrel of elimination after their loss against Saudi Arabia. They now face a team that has played in just one World Cup knockout game in their history.

But Messi doesn't want his team to get complacent. Speaking after his team's 2-0 win against Poland on 30 November, the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) playmaker said, via the aforementioned source:

"At the moment, everything is very difficult. All the opponents are complicated. We know it as well as anyone."

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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