Argentina and Australia recovered from their opening day defeat to book a place in the World Cup knockouts.
Now they will face each other under Saturday lights to fight for a place in the quarterfinals.
Argentina had breathed life into their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Mexico in their second group match.
The win undoubtedly came as a big relief for La Albiceleste, but the free flowing football that became associated with them for years, was mostly absent.
Lionel Scaloni’s men kicked it up a notch in their final group match against Poland.
Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the first half, but Argentina held control of the match from the first minute to the last, and delivered the level of football their fans were expecting.
Australia were humbled 4-1 by the reigning world champions France. But the Socceroos did not get demoralised and responded with a 1-0 over Tunisia.
But they still had a daunting challenge ahead of them.
Graham Arnold’s men needed to beat Euro 2020 semifinalists Denmark to secure a Round of 16 berth. They beat the odds and knocked out Denmark by beating them 1-0.
This will be Australia’s first Round of 16 match since 2006.
They will enter the fray as underdogs, but inspired by their remarkable win against Denmark, the Aussies will fancy their chances against Argentina, who fell to another AFC team Saudi Arabia in their opening match.
Lionel Scaloni should consider making some changes to the first XI as Argentina are set to take the pitch only two days after crossing swords with Croatia.
Lisandro Martínez could walk back into the La Albiceleste backline. Nicolás Tagliafico is also in contention of making a return, replacing Marcos Acuna.
Julian Alvarez’s goal may give him the edge over Lautaro Martinez in the forwadline.
Angel Di Maria, who is troubled by a thigh problem is expected to recover.
Australia had an extra day of rest, so Graham Arnold should feel confident to play the same XI that played against Denmark.
However, he might choose to bring in Keanu Baccus in the first XI.
Baccus put on an excellent performance in the midfield against Denmark after replacing Craig Dawson in the second half. The Saint Mirren man should feel that he has done enough to warrant a place in the first XI.
Argentina possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Romero, Tagliafico; Mac Allister, Fernandez, De Paul; Alvarez, Messi, Di Maria
Australia possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Karacic, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; Mooy; Leckie, Irvine, McGree, Goodwin; Duke
Argentina finally clicked to rhythm in their final group match.
They showed the intensity and desire of a title contender side. Australia did great to bounce back with two wins.
But, an on song Argentina could be too hot for them to handle.
Kickoff: 12:30 PM IST
Venue: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium