SAO PAULO, Brazil — Just as another penalty shootout was looming at the World Cup, Angel Di Maria scored deep into extra time to ensure Argentina advanced to the quarterfinals.
Lionel Messi made a surging run toward the Swiss area in the 118th minute and laid the ball off to Di Maria on the right. The wing struck a left-foot shot past diving keeper Diego Benaglio for a 1-0 victory Tuesday.
Swiss substitute Blerim Dzemaili nearly equalized in the dying seconds, but his header hit the post and the rebound bounced off his knee and just wide of the goal.
The result at Sao Paulo's Itaquerao Stadium continued Argentina's record of scraping at this World Cup.
Di Maria said the Argentines knew from the start there was a good chance the game would go into extra time, like three of the six previous second-round matches: "We know that this could happen to us, but we gave our souls out there on the pitch, we fought with our lives for each ball and we ended up as the winners."
It was a dramatic ending to what had been a tight match, with Argentina struggling to break through Switzerland's disciplined defense.
Granit Xhaka and Josip Drmic had clear chances in the first half, but after that the Swiss mostly focused on repelling Argentina's attacks and closing down space for Messi. "We made life very tough on them," Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said. "They managed to keep their cool. It shows Argentina has a good team."
Hitzfeld, whose brother died at age 81 on Monday, said the match was his last as a football coach.
"It was a great honor working for Switzerland. I'm therefore proud to say goodbye to Switzerland with a heart full of emotions," Hitzfeld said.
|Round of 16||Quarterfinals||Semifinals||Final||Semifinals||Quarterfinals||Round of 16|
|A1||Brazil 1||Netherlands 2||B1|
|(Brazil advances 3-2 on PKs)||Brazil (FIFA rank: 3)|
|B2||Chile 1||Mexico 1||A2|
|4 Friday, Fortaleza, ESPN||4 Saturday, Salvador, ESPN|
|C1||Colombia 2||Costa Rica 1||D1|
|(Costa Rica advances 5-3 on PKs)|
|D2||Uruguay 0||Greece 1||C2|
|4 July 8, Belo Horizonte, ESPN||3 July 13, Rio, Ch. 28||4 July 9, Sao Paulo, ESPN|
|E1||France 2||Argentina 1||F1|
|France (17)||Argentina (5)|
|F2||Nigeria 0||Switzerland 0||E2|
|Noon Friday, Rio, ESPN2||Noon Saturday, Brasilia, Ch. 28|
|G1||Germany 2||Belgium 2||H1|
|Germany (2)||Belgium (11)|
|H2||Algeria 1||United States 1||G2|
|FIFA rank: world ranking as of June 5 Third-place match: semifinal losers, 4 July 12, Brasilia, ESPN|