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PHOTOS: Angel takes Argentina to quarter-finals

Last updated on: July 02, 2014 00:59 IST

PHOTOS: Angel takes Argentina to quarter-finals

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A lot was expected from Lionel Messi, but it was Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria who scored in the 118th minute to give Argentina a 1-0 win over Switzerland in extra-time and a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals, on Tuesday.

Despite camping out in the Swiss half for long periods of the second half Argentina could not make the breakthrough as the 90 minutes of play ended scoreless.

Argentina looked the stronger side in extra-time as Swiss legs began to tire and, just when it looked like Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson would call for the penalty shoot-out, Di Maria curled the ball past Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio, off a pass from Messi, to seal the late triumph.

Argentina will play the winner of the Belgium and United States match.

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Image: Angel di Maria of Argentina celebrates scoring his team's goal in extra-time
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Angel takes Argentina to quarter-finals

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

The South Americans were more forceful in the second half, but failed to break through some tight marking by the Swiss defence, which gave Messi little room to manoeuvre.

It was the Swiss who had the best chance of the first half, but Argentina 'keeper Sergio Romero did well to save a stiff shot from Xherdan Shaqiri 12 yards out in the 27th minute.

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Image: Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland challenges Lionel Messi of Argentina
Photographs: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Angel takes Argentina to quarter-finals

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The Argentines had a couple of close looks at goal in the second half, but Swiss goalkeeper Benaglio prevented them from taking the lead as he stopped a header from Gonzalo Higuain and a low shot from Messi.

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Image: Switzerland's goalkeeper Diego Benaglio (right) saves a shot by Argentina's Marcos Rojo (left) as Switzerland's Granit Xhaka watches
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

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PHOTOS: Angel takes Argentina to quarter-finals

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Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella chose Ezequiel Lavezzi to play up front alongside Messi.

Lavezzi started instead of Sergio Aguero, who was suffering from a thigh strain. He had come on to replace the forward in Argentina's last two Group E games against Nigeria and Iran.

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Image: Ezequiel Lavezzi of Argentina is challenged by Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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PHOTOS: Angel takes Argentina to quarter-finals

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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 playmaker Shaqiri released Josip Drmic through on goal.

The tall striker shaped to shoot but wasted the opportunity with a feeble chip which Argentina keeper Romero gathered comfortably.


Image: Fabian Schar of Switzerland collides with Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina
Photographs: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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