Stephan Lichtsteiner’s Switzerland suffered the agony of a last-gasp extra time defeat yesterday night, with Real Madrid forward Angel Di Maria popping up on 118 minutes to wrap up a quarter-final place for Argentina.
The result was rough justice on the expertly drilled Swiss who worked so hard to successfully stifle Argentina’s creative threat for much of the last 16 clash in Brazil.
Deploying a counter-attacking strategy throughout, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men looked to temper the pace of the game before striking on the break.
And their tactics almost paid off as they enjoyed the most corners and shots on goal, only for a Lionel Messi moment of magic to spark Argentina into life and provide Di Maria with the opportunity to settle a close contest two minutes from the end of extra time.
The Swiss, who approached the game chasing their first World Cup quarter-final spot in 60 years, depart the competition with their heads held high after finishing second in their group with six points and taking a heavily fancied Argentina side to within two minutes of penalties.