Angel Di Maria scored two minutes from the end of extra time on Tuesday to give Argentina a 1-0 victory over Switzerland and a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
The Swiss more than held their own in the first half of normal time, as Granit Xhaka’s shot was saved by Sergio Romero and Josip Drmic fluffed an attempted chip when clean through on goal. Argentina gradually took command only for Switzerland’s Diego Benaglio to save well from Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi.
While Argentina grew increasingly frustrated with their lack of attacking bite, Switzerland were more than content to keep one of the most formidable attacks in the tournament quiet and hit them on the counter attack. Their game plan almost paid off five minutes before half time, though Josip Drmic chipped a defence-splitting Xherdan Shaqiri pass straight into the arms of a grateful Romero.
Argentina came out after the restart looking a little more threatening, though no attackers were on hand to capitalise on Marcos Rojo’s numerous crosses into the Swiss penalty area. Rojo promptly took things into his own hands and fired a shot at goal just short of the hour, but Benaglio got down to palm the ball away.
Neither team mustered much in the way of an attack in a flat extra period, but just as penalties loomed, the Swiss lost possession allowing Messi to run at their defence before slipping the ball into the path of Di Maria who swept home.
There was still time for Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili to head against a post. Argentina survived and will play either Belgium or the United States, who meet later on Tuesday in the final game of the second round.