What is Lionel Messi’s World Cup knockout record?

Lionel Messi and Argentina take on the Netherlands in the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-finals on Friday, a repeat of the 1998 clash at the same stage which those of us old enough to remember will forever associate with Dennis Bergkamp’s iconic last-minute winner.

Is there any doubt that Messi is one of soccer’s greatest ever players? Probably not. Is he the greatest ever? Those who argue against it will point to the fact that the PSG star – like Cristiano Ronaldo – has yet to make a World Cup his own, unlike others who are in the conversation, such as Pelé, Diego Maradona and the Brazilian Ronaldo. Whether that’s true or not is also up for debate but a World Cup trophy – and a memorable World Cup moment like Bergkamp’s – would certainly be the crowning glory of a wonderful career.

Lionel Messi has now won more FIFA Man of the Match awards (8) than any other player in the competition’s history 🏆

𝐈𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 🇦🇷🪄

— LiveScore (@livescore) December 3, 2022

Messi has already broken records at this World Cup. His participation in all three group games means he has surpassed Maradona’s tally of games played in the competition (Messi is now on 23), while his three goals mean he has beaten El Pelusa’s goalscoring record, nine to eight. Gabriel Batistuta, on 10 goals, is the only Argentinian who has found the net more often at the World Cup.

But perhaps most significant is that Messi’s last strike, against Australia in the round of 16, was his very first in the knockout stages of the competition, as was well documented. Is this a sign of things to come? The World Cup knockout stages haven’t been especially kind to Messi, and Argentina, over the years; could that be about to change in his last ever tournament?

What is Lionel Messi’s World Cup knockout record?

2006 World Cup

Round of 16: Argentina 2-1 Mexico

A total of 36 minutes played (substituted on in the 84th minute then 30 minutes of extra-time).

Quarter-finals: Argentina 1-1 Germany (Germany won on penalties)

0 minutes played.

2010 World Cup

Round of 16: Argentina 3-1 Mexico

90 minutes played. Messi assisted Carlos Tevez for the first goal.

Quarter-finals: Argentina 0-4 Germany

90 minutes played.

2014 World Cup

Round of 16: Argentina 1-0 Switzerland (after extra-time)

120 minutes played. Messi assisted Ángel Di María’s winning goal.

Quarter-finals: Argentina 1-0 Belgium

90 minutes played.

Semi-finals: Argentina 0-0 Netherlands (Argentina won on penalties)

120 minutes played. Messi scored the first penalty in the shootout.

Final: Argentina 0-1 Germany (after extra-time)

120 minutes played.

2018 World Cup

Round of 16: Argentina 3-4 France

90 minutes played. Messi assisted goals for Gabriel Mercado and Sergio Agüero

2022 World Cup

Round of 16: Argentina 2-1 Australia

90 minutes played. Messi scored Argentina’s opening goal in the 35th minute.

All in all, Messi has taken part in nine World Cup knockout ties. In 846 minutes (plus additional time), he’s scored once and assisted four goals. By his own his standards, there’s certainly room for improvement but Argentina will hope his strike in the round of 16 has opened the floodgate as they go in search of a first World Cup trophy since 1986.

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