Socceroos star Aziz Behich has revealed what happened in his heated run-in with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, while also re-living the moment he very nearly scored Australia’s biggest ever World Cup goal.
The left back was one of the Socceroos’ best in Sunday morning’s (AEDT) heartbreaking 2-1 Round of 16 defeat that brought Australia’s memorable campaign in Qatar to an end.
Behich was in just about everything, both in attack and defence, for Australia and was involved in a heated touchline scuffle was Messi, just moments before the legendary midfielder put the South Americans up 1-0.
Watch the world’s best footballers every week with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. LIVE coverage from Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Carabao Cup, EFL & SPFL. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Socceroos World Cup dream over | 02:55
The 31-year-old said there were no words exchanged between him and Messi in the dust-up but revealed a snarky comment that was made by another Argentina player.
”He (Messi) pushed me once the ball was out and I’ve always been throughout my career that, when I’m on that pitch I kind of see black,” Behich said in Doha the day after the defeat.
“I don’t see an opponent or a name or anything like that. I’m out there to help my team win and I do whatever I can for that to happen. There’s obviously respect there for the opponent and that, but it’s just a heat of the moment thing.
“It ended up being face-to-face, no words were exchanged, nothing violent or anything like that but one of his teammates tried to tell me not to speak to him or something.
“But it was nothing to over-exaggerate …. it was jus a heat of the moment thing.”
Despite trailing 2-0 the Socceroos came roaring back into the game in the second half courtesy of an own goal and Behich went within inches of scoring an equaliser that would have gone down in Aussie sporting folklore.
Behich made a scintillating run from near halfway into the penalty area, slicing open the defensive line and looking poised to score before a last-ditch cover tackle from Lisandro Martinez thwarted the opportunity.
“I didn’t feel a touch or anything to go down but even if I did and wanted to …. the speed I was going at I would have gone down regardless,” Behich said.
Socceroos fall JUST short in WC thriller as Aussies give ‘rattled’ Argentina BIG scare
World View: How ‘honest’ Aussies made football shut up and take notice
‘I’m not surprised’: Ryan hits back after club teammate’s brutal sledge over howler
Socceroos win over hearts of Aussie fan | 03:54
“It was an unlucky one obviously, finding myself in there (in the box) again. I’ve done it a couple of times this campaign but it wasn’t to be.
“… I’ve got past the last guy I actually opened my body and said ‘as long as I hit the target here, it’s in’ and looking back at the video the keeper’s actually gone the wrong way as well as I was taking the shot as well.
“It was a great tackle, pretty much like a Harry Souttar tackle, but this time it was on us. It would have been great, a special moment for our country and our team but it wasn’t to be.
“… I’m proud of this group and what we achieved at this World Cup and this whole campaign realy and this whole past four years and hopefully this is a step forward for Australian football.”