Argentina squeeked through to the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup by defeating Switzerland 1-0 after extra time. A late Angel di Maria goal, set up brilliantly by Lionel Messi, was all the Argentines needed to get past a resiliant Swiss side. Although the quality wasn't at all what Alejandro Sabella would like to see from his side, Argentina did enough to advance and will face the winner of USA vs. Belgium in the next round. 

The first half of the match was characterized by long spells of fruitless Argentine possession, with Switzerland comfortably absorbing pressure and limiting true chances. It was the Swiss who got the first great chance of the game in the 28th minute after wonderful individual play by Xherdan Shaqiri allowed him to play a flat cross to Granit Xhaka but his shot was directly at Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero who shakily kept the ball out of the net with his feet. On 39 minutes Switzerland again threatened the Argentinian goal. Josip Drmic had all the time in the world to beat Romero who mistakenly stayed on his line after a great ball by Shaqiri evaded the entire Argentine back line, but the attempted chip was the wrong choice and ended up in the hands of the fortunate keeper. 

RTR3WNUM Argentine keeper Sergio Romero keeps out a decent effort by Granit Xhaka Reuters

Argentina started the second half well creating a good chance for Gonzalo Higuain which was blocked well by Johan Djourou. The Swiss, like in the first half, were able to threaten Romero's goal generating much more dangerous chances than the opposing Argentinians. On 62 minutes Higuain could have given his side the lead from a well taken header, but Diego Benaglio was in position to push the ball over the bar. Argentina began pressuring as the second half wore on with with chances materializing for Higuain and Messi, but to no avail. Messi was the only true creator, dropping deep into the midfield, but his surrounding strike force, supposed to be the best in the tournament, was stagnant and inefficient with the ball. The Flea, as Messi is known, had a wonderful strike on goal in the 78th minute which was expertly blocked by Banglio. But at the end of 90 minutes, neither team was able to find the breakthrough and extra time was necessary to decide a winner.

RTR3WO7A Leo Messi hits the ball forcefully towards the Swiss goal Reuters

Argentina carried their lackluster performance into the first period of extra time, showcasing little creativity in attack while looking uncomfortable in dealing with clever Swiss play on the break. Angel di Maria hit a fantastic strike in the 109th minute which was heading for the back of the net but Benaglio did very well to deny the Real Madrid man.  

RTR3WODQ Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri pumps up the crowd in Sao Paulo Reuters

But the Swiss hearts were broken in the 118th minute when Argentina were finally able to find the breakthrough from di Maria. An enthralling run by Messi opened up a fantastic opportunity for di Maria, who received a phenomenal ball and made no mistake from inside the box to defeat Benaglio. Switzerland substitute Blerim Džemaili had a wonderful opportunity to bring his side level in stoppage time but his header richocheted off the post to break Swiss hearts. A final chance came from 19 yards out in the 125th minute but Shaqiri's free kick hit the wall. Argentina and Messi will go to the quarter finals where they will meet the winner of USA vs. Belgium.