Argentina barely overcame the Swiss today, taking 118 minutes to even open the scoring. The Swiss players were fantastic, and ultimately should’ve won the match in the 1st half, but Argentina took the challenge and Angel Di Maria stepped up to the plate alongside Lionel Messi.
Argentina vs Switzerland:
Argentina is favouring a 4-3-3, with Ezequiel Lavezzi replacing Aguero, while Shaqiri will play from his preferred right attacking midfield position in Switzerland’s 4-2-3-1.
Lichsteiner made an urgent challenge on Di Maria. The Real Madrid star was furious that Lichsteiner wasn’t shown yellow.
Shaqiri held the ball at the corner flag, and he forced Zabaleta to give the Swiss a corner.
The most promising set of play so far ended, as Inler’s shot flew over the bar in the 8th minute. Inler looked as good an engine as any in the game during the Swiss “power-play”.
Argentina had a free kick in the 10th, but Di Maria and Messi couldn’t find an Argentinian head from the long cross.
Di Maria made a great throw in the 12th minute that went to Messi. Messi dribbled and ground crossed in, but Benaglio was good to claim it.
Pele was shown in the VIP stand in the 14th minute.
Argentina had a promising set of play in the 15th that looked just as promising as the initial Swiss one. Unfortunately, Benaglio easily claimed the cross from Zabaleta.
Mehmedi made a reckless challenge on Di Maria in the 24th, and the ref gave him a warning. Messi had a free kick just outside the box. Higuain’s header went over the bar.
Shaqiri had a free kick from wide, but a series of events won him a corner, and not a goal in the 26th minute. The corner was more threatening than you would think. Another corner was taken short, and Mehmedi got a shot, but it was fantastically saved by Romero! The rebound from Lichsteiner was saved by Romero too!
Lavezzi got a shot in the 28th, but the snap didn’t challenge Benaglio.
Argentina won a corner in the 29th. Di Maria was dangerous! He curled it straight towards the net, but Garay couldn’t get a touch.
Inler conceded another pointless free kick. Argentina retained possession in the 30th minute.
Mascherano found Messi in the box in the 31st, but Messi couldn’t get a shot before Djourou slid the ball out of play.
Drmic was badly fouled by Fernandez, in an attempt to prevent a counter attack in the 32nd.
Shaqiri won a free kick from the Argentinian right touchline near the box in the 34th. The free kick will be taken by the Bayern Winger. It was punched out to Inler, who played to Rodriguez. Argentina slowly defended out of their area.
Xhaka was shown a yellow card in the 35th minute for a bad challenge on Lavezzi.
Drmic had a 1 on 1 with Romero in the 38th, but he messed up very badly.
Argentina had a good chance in the 39th, but the ref called offside.
Di Maria had a curling drive in the 40th, but it didn’t test Benaglio.
Rojo put a great cross in the 44th minute, but the Swiss defence cleared it well.
There was no added time.
Half Time: Switzerland 0-0 Argentina
Half Time Report:
This half has been a defensive masterpiece from both sides, particularly the Swiss. Switzerland are moving the ball around and shredding the Argentinian midfield, while Di Maria and Messi are trying very hard to connect with Higuain. The biggest chance of the half came when Drmic shot straight at the keeper in an attempt to chip from far, but this half has been exciting.
Both sides had tactical masterpieces that allowed the main players to keep the attacking tempo. Both sides had relentless engines in Angel Di Maria and Gokhan Inler, and they provided the insane pressure, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Lionel Messi were playing in tailor made roles that allow them to roam and create attacks.
Argentina maximized the impact of Lionel Messi by moving him into the centre while Lavezzi attacked in the box as an extra pressure man, and Di Maria covered the centre and drifted wide to cover. Rojo and Zabaleta have been forced back by Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichsteiner, but with all the Argentinian attacking threats, all is well.
Xherdan Shaqiri was feeding off bursting runs from Inler, and turning them into plays. Although he starts on the right, he drifts left and centre while Xhaka covers his flank. In this free flowing style, the Swiss have been forcing Argentina out of attack with their bursting fullbacks that took Europe and now the World by storm, and Mehmedi is sneaking back very well to cover for the left back, while bursting up when Rodriguez was lost in the box.
The 2nd half has started.
Lichsteiner won a free kick just outside the box in the 48th minute. Shaqiri’s free kick was touched out by Romero, but he couldn’t catch it.
DRMIC! In the 50th, Shaqiri set him up, but he shot it just over.
Inler wasted a free kick in the 56th, He should’ve retained possession for the Swiss.
Argentina had a good chance in the 56th, but Switzerland responded with great defending.
ROJO! In the 58th, he got a shot, but Benaglio slipped as he caught it. Nevertheless, the Swiss keeper hit it out on time.
Argentina won a corner in the 59th. Lavezzi stood at the flag. Schar clears it, but the Argentinians had possession outside the box. Di Maria beat Rodriguez on the right (finally), but his cross couldn’t do much!
Argentina won a free kick in the 60th. Messi’s cross was cleared by Djourou.
WHAT A CHANCE! Rojo got in a cross to Higuain, who headed. It was going in before Benaglio hit it over.
Argentina won ANOTHER corner in the 64th.
Switzerland made the first substitution in the 65th. Xhaka is the man who is leaving the pitch for Gelson Fernandes.
HIGUAIN! He couldn’t get a great head in the 67th minute.
MESSI! OH WOW! The Swiss defence made another clearance to Messi, who chested and fired just over the bar.
Drmic was clear in the 69th, but Rojo had good control of him. Drmic then commited an offensive foul.
Gelson Fernandes was shown a yellow card in the 73rd for a pointless challenge on Di Maria.
Ezequiel Lavezzi came off in the 73rd minute for Rodrigo Palacio. You could consider this an extra striker, but Lavezzi has been playing very high up.
Messi had a free kick in the 74th.
PALACIO! As soon as he came on, he connected with a Messi cross, but his header was just wide.
Gago struck from far, but it didn’t threaten Benaglio as it soared over.
MESSI! He had a shot in the 77th, but Benaglio hit it back, before the Swiss defence cleared it. The Argentinians had attacked Benaglio, who was holding his shoulder. Argentina was awarded a corner.
Seferovic came on for Drmic in the 82nd.
Di Maria won Argentina another corner in the 84th. It didn’t work but Argentina retained possession.
Rojo’s drive in the 85th went way over.
Behrami challenged Messi, but the Barcelona star lost his patience and shoved Behrami off the ball on the ground in the 86th.
Messi made a run, but before the ball could get to Palacio, the Swiss defence cleared it for a corner in the 89th. The corner went to the Argentinian player, but he headed into the back of Djourou’s head.
SWITZERLAND! Rodriguez made a great run before Rojo lunged into him badly. The left back got a yellow for studs up and almost injured Rodriguez. It should’ve been red. Rojo would miss the next match if Argentina advances.
Mehmedi wins a free kick in the 91st after taking a nasty challenge.
INLER! His delivery was good, but Schar headed it just over.
The whistle was blown, for OT.
Full Time: Argentina 0-0 Switzerland
Full Time Report: On the sidelines, Messi looked upset, and Inler was trying to calm him down. He put his arm around Messi during the interval, but the striker threw Inler off.
Extra Time began.
Argentina won a corner in the 91st. Di Maria attacked the far post with his corner, but Benaglio took care of it for another corner where the same thing happened. These corners were dangerous.
Messi pulled down Behrami, but the ref called advantage. Behrami got up after about 10 seconds.
Argentina had a free kick in the 94th. Di Maria and Messi were behind the ball. Messi’s kick was headed back by the Swiss defender, and almost into the own goal, but Benaglio stopped it.
Shaqiri won a free kick in the 95th, just on the left of the box. Inler was behind the ball. Argentina’s defending was composed,
Shaqiri took a drive from far in the 96th, but it was WAY wide.
Messi was free at the corner of the box, but he couldn’t keep the ball in at the 97th minute.
Behrami was clipped badly in the 99th minute.
Shaqiri was on the run, but the ref got in his way. Many people would claim for referee bias in the 104th minute, and Shaqiri is now yelling “What are you doing?” to the ref.
Rojo came off for Basanta.
Di Maria broke into the attack, but Djourou defended well before his cross could get to Messi. The ref blew the whistle for ETHT.
Extra Time Half Time: Argentina 0-0 Switzerland
Fernando Gago came off at the interval for Biglia.
DI MARIA! He looked like he was going to cross from the right, but he turned and struck at Benaglio, who turned it out for a corner. That was going in in the 109th.
Di Maria’s shot took a deflection out for a corner. Djourou was in the way once again, and Argentina had a corner in the 112th that came to nothing.
Switzerland made their final substitution in the 112th, as Dzemaili came on for the tired Mehmedi.
Messi was on the ground holding his leg, but he got up as Switzerland had a free kick in the 115th. It didn’t produce anything.
GOAL! ARGENTINA! ANGEL DI MARIA! Messi ran all the way, and played to Di Maria, who finished without doubt in the 118th. Argentina 1-0 Switzerland ET
Ricardo Rodriguez broke out, but Di Maria lunged into him and received a yellow card.
Switzerland had a corner, and Benaglio came out.
WHAT A CHANCE! Shaqiri got a cross in, but Dzemaili’s header hit the post and his rebound went out!
SHAQIRI WINS A FREE KICK! Garay made a terrible tackle and got a yellow card, and Shaqiri was just outside the box in the 123rd. It hit the wall and the ref blew the whistle!
ET Full Time: Argentina 1-0 Switzerland; Goals, Di Maria ET; MOTM Messi
Best Player Grades:
Lionel Messi- He was dangerous the whole game, and was the reason why Argentina was victorious. 8
Angel Di Maria- Argentina’s engine was relentless today. 8
Diego Benaglio- He saved so many shots, and kept Switzerland organized. 7
Xherdan Shaqiri- Although he was reluctant to pass at times in the match, he made all the plays and got the closest to scoring. 7
At 4pm ET, Belgium will try to overcome some massive injuries in the squad to beat a stingy US side coached by Jurgen Klinsmann, the most googled manager in the World Cup.