Argentina reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Australia on Saturday but they were taken right down to the wire and might not want to consider what may have happened without Lionel Messi on the pitch.

Messi marked his 1,000th professional game with his 789th goal — his first in a knockout match at the World Cup — and almost everything good that Argentina created going forward went through the little No. 10.

It was always going to be a tough game against a Socceroos team who muscled their way into the knockout stages with a brand of football that relied on each player covering huge swaths of turf and tackling anything that moved.