FIFA World Cup Round of 16 Results: Argentina vs. Switzerland

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Argentina's Lionel Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi refreshes himself during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match agaisnt Nigeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 25, 2014. REUTERS

Argentina was were saved from having to go through a penalty shootout against Switzerland by La Liga pair Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria. It's not very often that one can see a Real Madrid star pair up with an FC Barcelona ace to manufacture a stunning goal to win a game. This was seen in the Spanish national team in their glory days but the failure of La Roja to make a mark in the 2014 FIFA World Cup meant that players from the famous rivals won't get a chance to show much camaraderie in this event.

Argentina 1-0 Switzerland (Extra Time)

(Di Maria 118')

La Albiceleste happen to have Lionel Messi in their roster and with him in the team is Real Madrid's Champions League revelation Angel di Maria. The game was pushed to extra time and was on the brink of a penalty showdown when Messi dribbled the ball in to set up Di Maria who didn't hesitate and sent the ball curling into the bottom corner of the net just out of reach of Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio.

 Argentina was the favourite to win the match but the first half proved otherwise. The Europeans set up a solid defence to neutralize the deadly Argentine offensive line composed of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi. The South Americans were only able to make half-chances for themselves but the Swiss were able to make two solid challenges to Sergio Romero's goal, through attempts by Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner just before the half. Josip Drmic was also able to make attempts to score in the closing stages of the first half and on the restart in the second.

The missed opportunities by Switzerland were enough to wake Argentina up and they were finally able to get in the game to make some real challenges of their own. Marcos Rojo managed to fire off a shot straight at the keeper. Higuain attempted a header and Messi made two more attempts which Benaglio did well to keep out.

Substitute Rodrigo Palacio made his presence felt by heading in a Messi cross which was also effectively stopped by the Swiss keeper.

The game ended still level with no goals and extra time proceeded in much the same way. It looked like fans will have to witness yet another penalty shoot-out when Lionel Messi set up Di Maria for a perfect shot to send Argentina through to the quarterfinals where they will face Belgium. 

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