In what was a highly disappointing game, with chances at a premium and a lack of quality on both sides, Angel di Maria fired Argentina into the quarter finals after a beautiful move orchestrated by kingpin and midfield maestro, Lionel Messi in a packed Arena de São Paulo on Tuesday.
Switzerland had several chances to win the game, with Granit Xhaka spurning an excellent opportunity in the first half and Xherdan Shaqiri causing problems for Argentina throughout the game. However, Argentina were mostly the more dorminant team in a match that had more caution than goals. As a result, the South Americans had to fall back on their most priced possession, Lionel Messi to provide both inspiration and goal scoring opportunities. The,only goal of an otherwise lackluster second round match came by way of a clumsy midfield player for the Swiss. He was quickly dispossessed by the alert Messi who quickly spotted the one goal scoring opportunity of the match. He quickly covered acres of space on his own, looked up like the good player that he is and spotted two options to pass to. The Barcelona man realised that the one other option he had was tottering on the verge of being offside, ruled him out and picked out Di Maria who made no mistake and drilled a beautiful grounder out of reach of Swiss goalie to the far left.
The Swiss, who seemed to have resigned themselves to the awful fate of penalties were suddenly awakened by the goal and piled everybody upfront in a bid to find the equalizer in the three minutes that were left. This resulted in the best goal scoring opportunity of the match they hit the post through a Blerim Dzemaili header and then fluffing the rebound wide with the near post gaping. There was further late drama to come as Switzerland, in the last minute Shaqiri had a free-kick outside the area to send it to extra-time. Unfortunately for the Swiss, it was kept out by the Argentine wall. From the resultant counter attack, the South Americans almost put the proverbial nail on the coffin when the long searching drive which just missed the left upright post as the goalkeeper had gone up to help with the free kick. The result meant that the pre-tournament favourites are into the quarter-finals.