Wednesday, July 2, 2014

World Cup 2014 : Argentina vs Switzerland 1-0

For 118 minutes, a gritty Switzerland kept Argentina at bay, as Messi, Di Maria, Higuain & others stormed the Swiss citadel without any luck. Messi was crowded off by three four defenders, & others were thwarted rather easily. On the other side, Swiss forward line causes enough flutter in the Argentinian defense & in the 39th minute, Drmic misses a sitter with only goalkeeper Romero to beat. The first half ends up as a rather boring affair, with both sides being tentative. Second half witnessed a more authoritative Argentina, with Messi dribbling in at random, but heavy tackling by Swiss players, especially Xhaka & Mehmadi keep Leo in check. Around the 62nd minute, Rojo dribbles in & sends a measured pass to Higuain, whose header is palmed off by goalkeeper Benaglio.... a near miss.
Argentina pressed hard for that vital goal, but were firmly pushed back & counter attacked by the Swiss players, who looked good to hold their ground. Shaqiri, Drmic, Rodriguez started to create gaps in the Argentinian defense & the ball drifted from one end to the other.... the quality though was lacking.
A goal less full time induced extra time & even that looked like ending up in a stalemate, when a Messi magic moment happened. Defender, Lichtsteiner lost possession near the half line, & Messi picked up the ball & darted into the Swiss defense through the left dodging off two defenders & then a perfect pass to on rushing Di Maria who coolly slotted the ball into the net past a diving Benaglio. 1-0, & the stadium erupted for the men in Blue whites.....
With 3 minutes of injury time added, the Swiss players made one last ditch effort to equalise & came hair split close to doing so. A free kick got the ball inside the box & in a goalmouth melee, substitute Dzemaili headed the ball onto the bottom of the right post & on rebound kneed it just out.... & with that ended the Swiss challenge. Had they equalised, they looked the stronger team in penalty shoot outs. The match did not reach great heights in terms of the quality of was rather scrappy, but that one moment of Messi magic was enough for the Latin American dreams to keep fluttering.

Argentina moves into quarterfinals & will meet the winner of Belgium vs USA.