Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria’s late winner against Switzerland provides a hard fought win for Argentina and books their place in the Quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Di Maria struggled to have an impact on the game throughout the whole ninety minutes, but the Real Madrid midfielder stepped up to score the winner when it mattered the most to send Argentina through to their third quarter-finals in the last three World Cups.
This match was a slow burner, as has been most of the matches in the round of 16, as both teams looked sceptical in attack. Switzerland held their shape at the back for most of the match and Argentina struggled to break through. The Swiss created few chances of their own on counter-attacks, but failed to take advantage of any of them.
Lionel Messi was tightly marked and was surrounded by two Swiss players as soon as he had the ball, while Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi failed to have any substantial impact on the game. Gonzalo Higuain, who has had a disappointing tournament so far, also looked ineffective upfront. Argentina were missing the Sergio Aguero in this game due to injury and the attack failed to open up the organized Swiss defence for the ninety minutes and most of the extra-time.
Ironically the winner arrived from Argentina counter attack as Messi ran at the defence in full speed and evaded a challenge to set up Di Maria on the right. The Real Madrid star scored with a wonderfully placed shot past Diego Benaglio. It was heart-breaking for Switzerland who have shown great fight and spirit for the whole 120 minutes of the game, but Argentina had that little bit extra in the end. Even after conceding the goal right, Switzerland had a golden chance to equalize right at the end, but Blerim Dzemaili’s header hit the post and he failed to direct the rebound into the net.
Alejandro Sabella was pleased with the result, and accepted that they were lucky to win the game in the end.
“Luckily, we were able to win the game in extra-time. Switzerland were on top in the first half, then it was us.
“Now we have to rest up and prepare for the next game.
“We do not look beyond that. To do so would be a mistake as we have already seen good teams like Spain, Uruguay, Italy and England have gone out.” – Sabella said after the match.