Australia pulled off a smash-and-grab shock over one of the tournament favourites in Manaus this evening, with a 2-0 win over an Argentina side 25 places above them in the FIFA World Rankings.
In truth, it was a match of few chances, with the two 4-4-2 formations stifling each other in midfield and centre-backs having the better of it. Argentina only mustered a single shot on target throughout, and were made to pay for it.
Scott McDonald put the Socceroos in front after quarter of an hour when man-of-the-match Tim Cahill rode a challenge from Javier Mascherano on the edge of the box before squaring for McDonald to drill home from twelve yards out.
Seven minutes before the break and Argentina switched-off at a throw-in on their left, letting Rhys Williams work the ball in towards the near post where Nikita Rukavytsya stole in and poked the ball past the ‘keeper for his tenth international goal that sealed the win.
Argentina finished the game with ten men after Lionel Messi limped off in the final five minutes after they’d made all three subs, but reports suggest he’ll be fit for their game against Mexico on Friday.
FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014 MATCH 28: GROUP G ARGENTINA 0-2 AUSTRALIA McDonald 14 Rukavytsya 38 Manaus
GROUP G P W D L F A GD Pts 1. Australia 2 1 1 0 3 1 +2 4 2. Argentina 2 1 0 1 2 3 -1 3 3. Mexico 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1 4. Sweden 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0