It was a highly disappointing game, with chances at a premium and a lack of quality on both sides. Penalties looked a certainty until, in the 118th minute, Lionel Messi found Di Maria to finish well.
Di Maria had actually had a desperately poor game, much like Argentina generally as once again their attackers failed to click. Indeed, 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 all game.
Argentina were mostly on top, but with Sergio Aguero's replacement Ezequiel Lavezzi failing to excite, they were once again entirely dependent on Messi in attack. It was his run who helped set up Di Maria with three minutes remaining, playing it out wide for the winger to cut inside and fire home.
There was further late drama to come as Switzerland hit the post afterwards through Blerim Dzemaili's header, and 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, and the pre-tournament favourites are into the quarter-finals. But on present evidence, they look anything but.
26' - XHAKA MISS: The ball falls nicely for Granit Xhaka in the area, but he puts his effort wide of the post to give Argentina a let-off.
38' - DRMIC MISS: Drmic gets completely clear of the Argentina backline and Sergio Romero hesitates to leave himself completely stranded, but the striker's effort is awful and easily saved.
118' - DI MARIA GOAL: After a pretty wretched performance, Di Maria scores the crucial goal, firing home after collecting Messi's pass.
121' - DZEMAILI MISS: Blerim Dzemaili misses a huge chance by hitting the post with a header then shinning the rebound wide.
Argentina have have been on the winning side in six of their seven World Cup games that have gone to extra-time.
Di Maria’s goal was the latest ever scored by Argentina at the World Cup (118 minutes).
Four of the seven last 16 games so far at this World Cup have gone to extra time, something that last happened in 1990.
Xherdan Shaqiri created six chances in this match, more than any Swiss player has managed at the tournament so far in a game.
Di Maria attempted 12 shots (incl blocked) v Switzerland, the most ever in a single WC match by an Argentinian (1966-2014).
No Argentinian player (1966-2014) has ever recorded more crosses (including corners) in a World Cup match than Di Maria in this game (19).
Switzerland committed 28 fouls in this match, a record for them at the World Cup (1966-2014).
The last shot on target in this match from Switzerland came in the 50th minute.
Switzerland have been knocked out in the second round in their last three appearances at this stage (versus Spain in 1994 and versus Ukraine in 2006 before today).
Switzerland have failed to score in their last three World Cup knockout matches, last scoring in one in 1954.
What's wrong with Argentina? None of Argentina's attacking players seem to be gelling with each other despite the formation, and it's causing huge problems for the side. They were very fortunate to win today, and although he scored the decisive goal Di Maria was largely awful. Ezequiel Lavezzi offered nothing, as did Rodrigo Palacio when he came on. Is it time for another shuffle of the pack?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lionel Messi (Argentina): Even the Barcelona attacker was substandard today, but he still looked Argentina's most dangerous player by a mile and created the winner. Once again, he is carrying this team.
Argentina: Romero 6, Zabaleta 6, Garay 6, Fernandez 6, Rojo 6, Gago 5, Mascherano 6, Di Maria 5, Messi 7, Higuain 5, Lavezzi 3. Subs: Palacio 4, Basanta 5, Biglia 5.
Switzerland: Benaglio 7, Rodriguez 7, Schar 6, Djourou 6, Lichtsteiner 6, Inler 7, Behrami 7, Mehmedi 5, Xhaka 5, Shaqiri 6, Drmic 3. Subs: Seferovic 5, Fernandes 6, Dzmaili 4.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Angel Di Maria
- Lionel Messi
- Xherdan Shaqiri