Australia Player Ratings vs Argentina: Ryan Blunder Sends Socceroos Home

Australia suffered a 2-1 defeat in a tense 2022 World Cup last-16 tie against pre-tournament favorites Argentina at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium. Despite starting the game as underdogs, the Socceroos gave the South American heavyweights a run for their money.

Widely expected to return home after the group stages, Australia pulled off a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ upset to reach the knockouts as Group D runners-up. Not dismayed by thumping 4-1 defeat to reigning world champions France on day one, the Socceroos strung together a pair of 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark to join Les Blues in the round of 16.

Head coach Graham Arnold deserves much of the credit for Australia’s first foray into the World Cup knockout rounds since 2006. His intelligent in-game management saw the Australians keep a clean sheet in consecutive World Cup games for the first time in the nation’s history, setting them up nicely for this mammoth assignment.

While the pre-match odds suggested Australia could be on the back foot from the get-go, Arnold’s men went toe-to-toe with a much more heavily fancied Argentina in the opening 30 minutes. Yet despite not allowing a single shot on target in that time frame, a moment of Lionel Messi magic brought the Socceroos down to their knees.

The little magician used his stick to navigate a low-placed shot into Matthew Ryan’s bottom far corner to give Argentina a 1-0 halftime lead from their solitary attempt on target in the first half. The Socceroos goalkeeper committed an epic blunder, handing the ball to Julian Alvarez on the edge of the six-yard box for the South Americans’ second on the cusp of the hour mark.

However, Australia fought back through second-half substitute Craig Goodwin, whose long-range effort tricked Emiliano Martinez after taking a big deflection of Enzo Fernandez. Unfortunately, the Socceroos failed to whittle down the gap and had to settle for another round-of-16 exit.

Australia (4-4-2)

Matthew Ryan – 2

If he could’ve done better to stop Messi from scoring, he must have done better not to give away a cheap second goal that ruled Australia out of this match.

Milos Degenek – 6

The Columbus Crew star had a decent game as he made light work of keeping Papu Gomez quiet before being subbed off in the 72nd minute.

Harry Souttar – 6.5

The towering Stoke City defender won every aerial battle inside his box and was arguably one of Australia’s best-performing players this evening.

Kye Rowles – 5.5

Like his abovementioned colleague, Rowles showed some no-nonsense defending to keep Messi and Alvarez at bay. Pitty, it was in vain.

Aziz Behich – 6

It was a spirited performance from the Dundee United left-back as he fought tooth and nail to neutralize the likes of Julian Alvarez and Alejandro Papu Gomez. It didn’t come at the expense of his attacking contribution as he almost scored what would’ve been a ‘goal of the tournament’ before Lisandro Martinez’s last-gasp clearance denied him.

Matthew Leckie – 4

After his heroics against Denmark last time out, one of Australia’s veterans turned on a ‘stealth mode’ tonight, barely touching the ball in the opposition half.

Aaron Mooy – 4.5

As a rare player in this Australia squad to have any experience in playing top-tier football, the Celtic midfielder was expected to give the Socceroos a foothold in this fixture. But his poor set-piece delivery and slow reactions in the middle of the park let his team down one too many times.

Keanu Baccus – 4

Did a solid job helping out his defensive teammates, but when it comes to his primary task of providing a spark in the attacking third, he flopped big time.

Riley McGree – 3.5 

It’s hard to remember McGree’s single venture into the opposition half. You’d definitely expect something extra from your first-choice winger.

Mitchell Duke – 3

Australia’s group-stage hero was a peripheral figure tonight, but truth to be told, it wasn’t his fault. How can a striker do something without receiving a ball in the box?

Jackson Irvine – 5.5

Played in a more advanced position than against Denmark and Tunisia, Irvine emerged as a rare bright spot in Arnold’s side. Drew a few corners and free-kicks yet failed to put Emiliano Martinez to the test.


Ajdin Hrustic – N/A

Craig Goodwin – 6.5 

Australia boss Arnold must be kicking themselves for starting Goodwin on the bench. In addition to scoring, he was by far the most threatening Socceroos player since coming on midway through the second half.

Garang Kuol – N/A

Denied by Emiliano Martinez on the stroke of the final whistle from merely seven yards out.

Fran Karacic – N/A

Jamie Maclaren – N/A