FINAL SCORE: Argentina 1 Switzerland 0
Argentina is through to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup after the most dramatic finish imaginable in Sao Paulo. Despite a dry game, with both teams taking turns playing defensively, it came to life in the last few moments of extra time. A mesmerizing Lionel Messi run set up Angel di Maria to score the winner after 117 minutes. After the goal went in, Switzerland threw everything forward, including their goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. The Swiss goalie was the star as he dived all across his goal to keep his team in the game. He nearly got on the end of a Shaqiri cross late on. So now Argentina will play the winner of the USA vs. Belgium game on Saturday July 5 in the World Cup quarterfinal.
Here’s how it went down in Sao Paulo:
Here’s how the teams will lined up from the start:
Switzerland: Diego Benaglio, Jacques Lichtsteiner, Johan Djorou, Fabian Schär, Ricardo Rodríguez, Valon Behrami, Gökhan Inler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi, Josip Drmić.
The Swiss Had the Best Chance of the First Half
After allowing Argentine to have much of the ball in the first half, the Swiss mounted its first real attack after 26 minutes. After Argentina were able to clear a corner, the ball broke to Shaqiri who was able to run at the Argentinian defense. He cut in on the right wing, got into the box, and slid the ball across the box to Xhaka who had his low shot well saved by Romero in the Argentina goal. Later in the half, Xhaka was given a yellow card by the referee, the only surprising thing was that it took so long. He’s been like a one-man fouling machine.
Josip Drmic Missed an Amazing One-on-One Chance Late in the First Half
At 37 minutes, Swiss striker, Josip Drmic found himself one-on-one with Sergio Romero. From the left side, at a slide angle, Drmic attempted to chip goalie Sergio Romero but his shot was tame and caught easily by the keeper. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld looked furious at the miss, a manager with his experience knows chances like that in games like this don’t come along that often.
Shaqiri Had a Good Free Kick Saved Early in the Second Half
A curling Shaqiri free kick from the right of the goal, about 23 yards out, was saved by Romero after 49 minutes. The goalie fumbled the ball, twice, and had to scurry to make sure it wasn’t picked up by a Swiss player, not very convincing at all. A few seconds later Drmic had another good chance from the right that he hit over the bar. This has been one of the worst games of the tournament so far.
Benaglio Made a Wonderful Save From a Higuain Header After 60 Minutes
Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain hit a wonderful, angled header from inside the box towards Benaglio’s goal but the goalie made wonderful full-stretch save to tip it over. The cross came in from the left, where Argentina had been attacking for most of the second half. The favorites are coming more-and-more into this one with Benaglio being called on to perform a great, flexible save, a few minutes before the Higuain header.
Then during a period of extreme Argentinian dominance, the ball broke to Lionel Messi on the edge of the Swiss box at the right wing. After chesting it down, Messi hit a near perfect volley that just creeped over Benaglio’s bar.
A Wonderful Run From Messi Resulted in a Goalmouth Scramble Late in Normal Time
Messi made a jinking run into the Swiss box on 78 minutes from the right, his left foot shot was saved by Benaglio. The Swiss goalie failed to hold the shot and substitute Rodrigo Palacio tried to get in. As he dived in, he appeared to kick Benaglio in the ribs, Messi also followed up and tripped Behrami, the ball was cleared for a corner. Not sure why a free kick wasn’t given for Switzerland. Argentina Coach Alejandro Sabella’s reaction said it all:
The Game Was Tied at 90 Mins
Despite spells of domination for both teams, including intense domination by Argentina late-on, the game ended 0-0 and went to extra time. The Swiss team appeared to tire as the game wore on with the Argentinian team toying with the Switzerland defense. A tie seemed like a fair result after 90 minute but as Algeria found out against Germany, what you did in the 90 minutes doesn’t matter when you’re playing extra time in the World Cup.
Benaglio Made an Impressive Save Early in Extra Time
Argentina began extra time the same way the ended normal time. A corner from di Maria was nearly planted right on the head of Argentina center back Garay but Benaglio leaped at the last second to knock it out for another corner. He also punched the follow-up to safety. The Swiss goalie is having a hell of a game. He had to follow all that up with a save that he held well from Palacio header after a free kick from the right win for Argentina.
Shaqiri Got Pretty Mad at the Ref in Extra Time
The star of the Swiss team, Shaqiri picked up the ball in space in the Argentina at 104 minutes. He thought he had time to decide what to do until the ref Jonas Eriksson got in his way. Eventually, Shaqiri got the ball to a team mate but it could have been something special. After releasing the ball, Shaqiri turned to the ref and yelled. A few minutes earlier, Shaqiri had completed this amazing bit of skill:
Benaglio Continued Making Great Saves in the Second Half of Extra Time
This time it was Angel di Maria, who has not played well, who pulled a top drawer save from Benaglio. This one was high and to the goalie’s left. It seemed destined for the top corner until Benaglio dived to the rescue.
Angel di Maria Scored in the Dying Minutes of Extra Time
Angel di Maria, despite struggling in the game, rolled the ball passed Diego Benaglio in the Swiss goal. Lionel Messi began the move with a great run from deep on the left side of the field. He was able to pass the ball smoothly into the path of di Maria who hit a lovely finish into the goalie’s right corner. It was di Maria’s tenth goal for his country.
Dzemai Hit the Post For Switzerland in Injury Time of Extra Time
With even Diego Benaglio in the box confusing things for the Argentinian defense, Blerim Džemaili’s header from a Shaqiri cross hit the post and bounced back to his feet but he couldn’t control it and it went wide. With 124 minutes on the clock, Shaqiri won a free kick right on the edge of the Argentina box but his free kick, after huge tenstion, came straight back off the wall and the ref blew the final whistle.