Angel Di Maria’s extra-time winner carried Argentina into the World Cup quarter-finals after an unconvincing display against Switzerland.
The two-time champions dominated possession in a turgid last-16 tie, but were unable to break through until Di Maria swept in Lionel Messi’s pass. Switzerland defender Blerim Dzemaili headed against the Argentina post then prodded wide after Di Maria’s winner. Argentina will face Belgium, who beat the USA, in the last eight on Saturday.
It was a remarkable conclusion to a match that saw Argentina, rated among the favourites to win the World Cup, produce another distinctly average performance in neighbouring Brazil.
Real Madrid winger Di Maria was wasteful in promising positions throughout but kept his composure when it mattered most, coolly sweeping an angled shot into the bottom corner after Messi’s pass found him advancing into the area.