Garang Kuol on Pele comparisons and going through off with Messi and Mbappe


Australia’s Garang Kuol says he lived a dream when changing into the youngest footballer since Pele to function in a World Cup knockout sport.

Kuol, aged 18 and 79 days, crossed paths with Argentina legend Lionel Messi in the course of the Socceroos’ 2-1 loss in Doha.

“Going one-on-one with Messi for a bit – unreal, I might say a dream,” he instructed reporters.

Kuol is the youngest to play a knockout fixture on the event since a 17-year-old Pele in 1958 and he provides Messi to an inventory together with France star Kylian Mbappe that he has tangled with throughout his debut World Cup.

“Simply their degree of confidence and talent,” he mentioned. “I try to mirror their sport.”

Kuol, who in January will switch from Central Coast Mariners within the A-League Males to Newcastle within the English Premier League, believes it is not going to be lengthy earlier than the Socceroos problem soccer’s world superpowers.

“The game in Australia retains rising and retains producing higher and higher gamers as time goes by,” he mentioned. “Sooner or later you will note a workforce that’s on the similar degree as Argentina, Brazil and all these groups.”

Kuol’s teammate, Keanu Baccus mentioned it was surreal to not solely rub shoulders with Lionel Messi, however bash them.

Baccus, a 24-year-old who arrived in Qatar with only one Socceroos cap to his identify, spent a lot of the opening half of the World Cup knockout sport locking horns with Argentina’s captain.

And simply seven minutes in, he laid a shoulder-to-shoulder bump on Messi which floored the worldwide megastar.

Baccus additionally did what few gamers have managed throughout Messi’s 1000 skilled video games: steal possession from a person famend as an all-time nice.

“Undoubtedly surreal how issues work out,” Baccus instructed reporters. “It was an amazing expertise for me, I undoubtedly know we will go toe-to-toe with these guys.”

Baccus, who moved from A-Leaguers Western Sydney to Scotland’s St Mirren this 12 months, mentioned he was not assigned a marking position on Messi.

“It was simply how the sport went,” he mentioned. “He was all the time in that pocket the place I used to be, and being shut I pinched it a couple of instances which was good. However he’s an amazing participant and bought one ultimately and that’s credit score to his high quality.”

Messi scored within the thirty fifth minute in Argentina’s 2-1 victory within the spherical of 16 fixture, a outcome which ended Australia’s World Cup marketing campaign.

The South Africa-born Baccus featured in all three video games in Doha, coming from the bench twice earlier than being entrusted with a beginning midfield position towards Argentina.

“It’s an amazing feeling figuring out that enjoying towards the perfect on this planet you are able to do properly,” he mentioned, including he felt no pre-game nerves.

“It’s soccer, I’ve been enjoying soccer since I used to be 4 or 5 and have all the time liked it. I simply go on the market and do what I’ve been doing, love the sport … have enjoyable, take pleasure in it.”



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