Round of 16
At the 118 minute, the Argentinians breathed a sigh of relief when the Real Madrid attacking midfielder scored the winning goal against the Swiss, to give the South American nation a slim 1-0 victory.
Byline: Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
São Paulo– Di María brilliant finish would cap of a wonderful set up from Lionel Messi, to give Argentina the narrow victory with just moments away from penalties kick occurring on Tuesday morning.
“It was an even game in the first half, with just two or three chances, but I think we were by far the better side in the second half,” Argentina Coach Alejandro Sabella told FIFA.com. “We deserved the win, but the ideal thing would have been to have got the job done in normal time. It goes without saying that winning is the most important thing and the only thing that really matters.”
Messi received the ball a little blow the midfield line, he wasted no time and ran at the tired Swiss defense. Messi passed by one defender and then sent a crisp pass to a cutting Di María. The Madrid midfielder saw the ball rolling harmlessly towards him, the 26-year-old attacker wasted no time and blasted the ball to the bottom left hand corner net to give Argentina the late victory.
The Swiss game plan off suffocating Messi and the rest of the Argentina attack would pay of for nearly the entire match. However, in the first and second half the attack of Argentina was not as dangerous as usual. The South Americans did produce 29 shots in the match, but only eight of them were on target.
However, in overtime the attack of Argentina began to break through and cause the Swiss major headaches. The two man behind this change was Messi and Di María both players came close of scoring numerous time in the match. But the Switzerland goalie Diego Benaglio would be there to stop most of the Argentine chances, as he would end up making seven saves in the match.
Though, as the game time kept on ticking, penalties were just around the corner, the South American wanted to avoid penalties with the Swiss. In response, Messi and Di María gave Argentina the 1-0 victory at 118 minute, with only two minutes left in overtime.
The Swiss would get a final golden chance right before the game ended. Xherdan Shaqiri at the 120 minute mark sent in a dangerous ball to the center of the penalty box, from the right hand side of the field. Blerim Dzemaili would pounce on the ball and head it towards goal, the ball hit the post and smack off the post and hit Dzemaili knee without him knowing about it, the ball would then barely roll out of bounds. The Argentinians had survived Switzerland most dangerous moment of the game, with a little help of the post and luck.
“The main thing is that we’re through. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” the Barcelona play maker told FIFA.com. “Time was going by and we didn’t want to go to penalties – we wanted to win the game. As for the goal, my first thought was to go for it myself, but then I saw Di Maria appear and I decided to play him in. Fortunately, he was able to put it away. That’s football and today luck was on our side. We have to make the most of it and keep on going.”
Argentina will now be facing Belgium in the quarterfinals on Saturday, July 5 at Brasilia. As for the Swiss they will be heading home after a close lost to the South American powerhouse.
Highlights to this video can be seen on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1926556, video provided by ESPN FC.