Match ends, Argentina 1, Switzerland 0.
Angel Di Maria's extra-time winner carried Argentina into the World Cup quarter-finals after an unconvincing display against Switzerland.
The two-time champions dominated possession in a turgid last-16 tie, but were unable to break through until Di Maria swept in Lionel Messi's pass.
Switzerland defender Blerim Dzemaili headed against the Argentina post then prodded wide after Di Maria's winner.
Argentina will face Belgium, who beat the USA, in the last eight on Saturday.
It was a remarkable conclusion to a match that saw Argentina, rated among the favourites to win the World Cup, produce another distinctly average performance in neighbouring Brazil.
Real Madrid winger Di Maria was wasteful in promising positions throughout but kept his composure when it mattered most, coolly sweeping an angled shot into the bottom corner after Messi's pass found him advancing into the area.
About 40,000 Argentina fans were estimated to be inside the Arena de Sao Paulo and Di Maria's late intervention sparked wild celebrations between players and fans.
But it was a heartbreaking end for Switzerland and particularly their veteran coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, whose 31-year managerial career ended in cruel fashion.
The 65-year-old German, who was twice voted World Coach of the Year, retires after winning 19 major club trophies for Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Grasshoppers.
Argentina failed to find top form during the group stage as Messi's brilliance inspired them to three narrow victories against Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran and Nigeria.
And they failed to impress again as Switzerland, who progressed as Group E runners-up with wins against Ecuador and Honduras, frustrated them for long periods.
|8||Shots on target||4|
|9||Shots off target||8|
Hitzfeld appeared to have instructed his defence to sit deep and crowd out Argentina's attacking players, which worked perfectly as the South Americans dominated possession but had few clear-cut chances to show for it. Messi was regularly deprived of space in the first half by a host of red shirts.
The Swiss offered little forward threat themselves, focusing more on keeping their shape.
But just before the half-hour mark, it was Hitzfeld's side who created the best chances of the opening 45 minutes.
Xherdan Shaqiri's cute cutback found Granit Xhaka, whose drilled shot was palmed clear by Sergio Romero. And the Argentina keeper then sprang quickly to his feet to block Stephan Lichtsteiner's long-range shot seconds later.
It might have served as a warning for Argentina - but they failed to take notice.
Shaqiri pinched possession to pick out Josip Drmic but, as an indecisive Romero decided to stay close to his goalline, the Swiss striker's attempted chip was easily gathered by the Argentine.
Although the South Americans began to move the ball more quickly after the interval, only Messi looked capable of unlocking Switzerland's sturdy defence.
The Barcelona star sent a vicious volley dipping over the crossbar before jinking into the penalty area shortly after, forcing Diego Benaglio to push out his low shot.
Switzerland barely moved the ball out of their own half in the final 20 minutes as Messi continued to orchestrate Argentina's best attacking moves.
|Argentina have been on the winning side in six of their seven World Cup games that have gone to extra time.||Switzerland's last shot on target in this match came in the 50th minute.|
|Di Maria's 118th-minute goal was the latest scored by Argentina at the World Cup.||Switzerland have failed to score in their last three World Cup knockout matches, last scoring in one in 1954.|
But neither side could find a late winner as the match went into extra time - the fourth of seven second-round ties to do so.
The European side stuck rigidly to their game plan in the additional half-hour, refusing to become more adventurous as penalties approached - before Di Maria finally netted with Argentina's 28th effort at goal.
Benaglio joined the Swiss attack in a frantic final few minutes, and his side came desperately close to saving themselves when an unmarked Dzemaili headed down and onto the foot of a post from inside the six-yard box, before jabbing a leg instinctively at the rebound.
There was still time for Shaqiri to hit a free-kick into the wall before Argentina's bid for a third World Cup progressed to a quarter-final in Brasilia on Saturday.
- 16RojoBooked at 90minsSubstituted forBasantaat 105+1'minutes
- 2GarayBooked at 120mins
- 22LavezziSubstituted forPalacioat 74'minutes
- 7Di MaríaBooked at 120mins
- 5GagoSubstituted forBigliaat 105'minutes
- 10XhakaBooked at 36minsSubstituted forFernandesat 66'minutesBooked at 73mins
- 18MehmediSubstituted forDzemailiat 113'minutes
- 19DrmicSubstituted forSeferovicat 82'minutes
- Jonas Eriksson
- Shots on Target
Second Half Extra Time ends, Argentina 1, Switzerland 0.
Attempt blocked. Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Ezequiel Garay (Argentina) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ezequiel Garay (Argentina).
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Ángel Di María (Argentina) left footed shot from more than 40 yards on the left wing is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ezequiel Garay following a fast break.
José Basanta (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland).
Attempt missed. Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the left.
Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland) hits the left post with a header from very close range. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri with a cross following a corner.
Attempt missed. Diego Benaglio (Switzerland) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ricardo Rodriguez with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Switzerland. Conceded by Ezequiel Garay.
Ángel Di María (Argentina) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ángel Di María (Argentina).
Ricardo Rodriguez (Switzerland) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Goal! Argentina 1, Switzerland 0. Ángel Di María (Argentina) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi.
Foul by José Basanta (Argentina).
Haris Seferovic (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Switzerland. Blerim Dzemaili replaces Admir Mehmedi.