World Cup 2010 - Argentina beat Mexico
Carlos Tevez scored twice - one clearly offside and one a wonder-goal - while Gonzalo Higuain capitalised on a defensive error to move to the top of the tournament goal-scoring charts with four in four matches.
New Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez pulled one back with a superb strike of his own as Mexico pushed admirably to find a way back into the game, but Argentina closed the game out to maintain their 100 per cent record at the finals in South Africa.
Diego Maradona’s in-form side face Germany in their last-eight clash on Saturday afternoon.
Mexico took the game to Argentina, as left-back Carlos Salcido whacked an outrageous long-range effort against the bar, winger Andres Guardado pinged a drive inches wide and Hernandez drilled a low shot just wide.
But Argentina went ahead on 26 minutes and it was another officiating error to pour scorn on FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s claims that video technology has no place in football.
This time Tevez - clearly offside - headed Lionel Messi’s chip into an empty net after keeper Oscar Perez spilled the latter’s through ball.
The big screen in the stadium showed the error but the decision had already been made and the law prevented the referee from chalking off the goal.
Seven minutes later it was 2-0.
With no real danger, defender Ricardo Osorio inexplicably passed straight to Higuain, who rounded Perez to score.
Javier Aguirre’s side rallied, with Salcido forcing a diving stop from Sergio Romero while Hernandez was inches from converting Salcido’s cross.
Argentina were dangerous on the break, though, as Perez saved well from Angel Di Maria while Gonzalo Higuain nodded a Tevez cross wide from six yards out.
There was a half-time scuffle between players and staff from both sides as an aggrieved Mexico went in with a mountain to climb.
Aguirre made a change at the break, bringing winger Pablo Barrera on for the ineffectual Adolfo Bautista.
But they were delivered another hammer blow when, on 53 minutes, Tevez arguably scored the goal of the tournament so far.
The Manchester City striker benefited from a ricochet on the edge of the D and, with options limited, he responded to the challenge by smashing an unstoppable shot into the top right.
Mexico continued to press as Barrera skinned two defenders before firing into the side netting, while Hernandez headed over and was denied by Gabriel Heinze on the line.
Hernandez, who joins United after the World Cup after hitting 21 goals for Chivas Guadalajara last season, pulled one back in style.
Gerardo Torrado slid the ball to the 22-year-old who, with his back to goal, spun off Martin Demichelis with his first touch, pulled wide of Nicolas Otamendi with his second, and rasped a vicious finish into the roof of the net with his third.
It gave Mexico hope but Argentina shut up shop with their only serious danger a far-post cross from Barrera that Heinze nicked away from Marquez.
In the closing stages Messi - quiet for most of he game - almost drove home a fourth after a trademark dribble inside from the right but he was denied by Perez as Argentina qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the sixth time.
Argentina v Mexico
1st Half Goals 2-0
Shots on Target 6-5
Shots off Target 3-10
Blocked Shots 3-2
Yellow Cards 0-1
Red Cards 0-0
Passing Success 79%-81.8%
Tackles Success 79.2%-77.8%
Territorial Advantage 41.2%-58.8%