Angel Di Maria's extra-time strike sends Argentina to last 8
Angel Di Maria
Argentina's Angel Di Maria celebrates after scoring a goal with teammate Lionel Messi during extra time in their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Switzerland at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo July 1, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
AP
Tuesday 1 Jul 2014
273 Views
Angel Di Maria scored deep into extra time to give Argentina a 1-0 win over Switzerland and seal the South Americans a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Tuesday.

After a tense 0-0 draw at 90 minutes and a scoreless first period of extra time, Lionel Messi broke quickly and released Di Maria, who swept the ball home before wheeling away in delight.

Blerim Dzemaili almost saved the Swiss when his header hit the post but Argentina held on and now face a quarter-final with either Belgium or the United States, who play later on Tuesday.

"It wasn't me, the heroes are 23 players and the technical staff. We gave our lives, our souls," said Di Maria. "We always tried to play, we just made one mistake in the first half that allowed a one-on-one with (keeper Sergio) 'Chiquito' Romero."

"I think the victory is more than deserved."

Switzerland assistant coach Michel Pont added: "Football is brutal, brutal, brutal. Unfortunately, we didn't quite have enough strength at the end to get through extra time.

"That's the way it is in soccer, one small mistake. We had a chance to get a goal before that... it's totally brutal."

Argentina had leaned heavily on Messi throughout the group stage, the number 10 scoring four of their six goals, and the forward was at the heart of their best work in the first half, prompting and prodding in front of the massed Swiss defence.

Switzerland, who were looking to return to the quarter-finals for the first time since hosting the tournament in 1954, went closest to scoring in a tight first half when impish playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri released Josip Drmic through on goal.

The tall striker shaped to shoot but wasted the opportunity with an ill-advised chip and Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero gathered comfortably.

With the score tied at 0-0 at halftime, the game then opened up in the second period as Argentina began to grab the momentum, and their blue and white clad fans brought the Corinthians arena to life, chanting and bouncing in unison.

The warning signs were flashing for Switzerland when Gonzalo Higuain went close with a header before Messi drove into the box and forced Diego Benaglio into a great save.

However, despite camping out in the Swiss half for long sections of the second half Argentina could not make the breakthrough and the 90 minutes ended scoreless.

Argentina looked the stronger side in extra time when Swiss legs began to tire and, just when it looked like Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson would call for a penalty shootout, Di Maria curled the ball past Benaglio to seal the late triumph.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)





Short link:

 

Add Comment
Email
 
Name
 
Comment's Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.