Match-winner Angel di Maria shared the plaudits after Argentina battled past Switzerland 1-0 to reach the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals.
Not for the first time in the tournament, Alejandro Sabella's strongly fancied team turned in an often disjointed display and a forgettable encounter appeared destined for penalties as extra time neared a close.
But when Lionel Messi surged at a tiring Swiss defence in the 118th minute and produced a perfectly weighted pass, Real Madrid midfielder Di Maria was on hand to put a frustrating display behind him with a clinical low finish.
Blerim Dzemaili came agonisingly close to levelling as Switzerland launched a last-gasp rally but the day belonged to Di Maria and Argentina, who will face Belgium or the United States next in Brasilia on Saturday.
"The heroes are the 23 (squad members) and the coaching staff," the 26-year-old said told reporters. “We gave everything out there.
"We left our heart and soul on the pitch. We were always in the game and we never gave up for a minute.
"I think because of that we deserved to win. I thought we had a lot of chances and we (made) just made one mistake, which forced our goalkeeper into a save.
"We leave as victors because we did well. Thank God for this win, now we have four days to recover for the quarter-final."
Sabella did not necessarily share Di Maria's view that Argentina deserved to go through and credited Switzerland for their showing during the first half.
"Luckily we were able to win the game in extra time," he told reporters at the final whistle.
"The first half Switzerland were on top, then it was us. It was a strange game.
"Now we have to rest up and prepare for the next game."
Midfielder Javier Mascherano underlined the importance of Argentina having players of Messi and Di Maria's calibre in their ranks.
He told the AFA's official Twitter page: "We went, we seek and we had our reward - (a) victory we deserved.
"Fortunately, in the last ball, appeared Messi and Di Maria."
|7||Á. di María||118' 120'|
|Coach: A. Sabella|
for E. Lavezzi 74'
for M. Rojo 105+1'
for F. Gago 106'
|Hull agree fee for N´Doye|
|Milan clubs should merge, says agent Raiola|
|Redknapp brands Fer speculation ´absolute rubbish´|
|Destro completes Milan move|
|Iraq 2 UAE 3: Khalil´s brace sees off Iraqis|
|Ward-Prowse signs Southampton deal|
|Mandanda: Marseille will turn it around|
|Fuchs backs Schalke goalkeeper Giefer to shine|
|Wenger unlikely to risk Sanchez, could start Gabriel|
|Newcastle would need ´ridiculous´ bid to sell Sissoko|
|Kramer sure of sustained Champions League challenge|
|Sturridge would have steered Liverpool to Wembley - Rodgers|
|South Korea claim underdog status|
|We can handle the pressure, says Postecoglou|
|Cheyrou joins Toronto|
|AFC boss rejects Australia expulsion claims|
|Australia v South Korea: Socceroos eyeing maiden Asian Cup|
|Wolfsburg plan Malanda tribute|
|Blanc: Ibrahimovic, Cavani need to improve partnership|
|NBA´s Kings invest in Sacramento Republic|
|Djukic slams Ronaldo as ´ugly and conceited´|
|Marcelino hails Villarreal´s historic achievement|
|Destro: I want to show Milan are great|
|Copa del Rey Review: Aduriz breaks drought to send Bilbao through|
|Blaszczykowski to miss Leverkusen clash|
|Villarreal swoop for Bailly|
|CAF to consider alternatives to drawing lots|
|Ginola ´not giving up´ on FIFA presidency bid|
|Eto´o backs Sampdoria´s European dream|
|Chelsea v Manchester City: Doubts over Costa and Fabregas for title showdown|
|Sunderland v Burnley: Poyet calls for change in mentality|
|Serie A Preview: Crisis clubs meet as Parma head to Milan|
|West Brom v Tottenham: Pulis excited by McManaman arrival|
|Ginola campaign cancels crowdfunding page|
|Stoke City v QPR: Hughes hopeful of Diouf boost|
|Manchester United v Leicester City: Pearson has no time for fond memories|
|Thai consortium completes Wednesday purchase|
|Wigan exodus continues as Ramos joins Levante|
|Crystal Palace v Everton: Martinez hoping to reap Qatar training rewards|
|Liverpool v West Ham: Allardyce backs Carroll to shine on Anfield return|
|Strootman injury ´nothing serious´|
|Pearson backs Kramaric to adapt quickly|
|Hull City v Newcastle United: Carver calls for repeat KC Stadium rout|
|Rodgers not expecting immediate Sturridge impact|
|Palace land free agent Ameobi|
|Guinea progress past Mali in drawing of lots|
|Strootman requires surgery|
|Mathieu reveals details of Luis Enrique-Messi bust-up|
|New Inter signing Brozovic wants to be the next Frank Lampard|
|Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund: Visitors aim for fresh start|
|Eibar v Atletico Madrid: Capa up for a fight|
|Whelan and Crouch sign new Stoke deals|
|Mutch joins Palace from QPR|
|Eriksen delighted by League Cup double|
|Real Madrid v Real Sociedad: Moyes´ men out for rare Real double|
|Nolan impressed by Carroll attitude|
|Wenger: Gabriel will adapt to English football|
|Destro says yes to Milan move|
|Allardyce not expecting Sakho ban|
|Ribery sidelined for three Bayern Munich matches|
|Cahill refuses to rule out retirement after Asian Cup final|
|Pogba to leave Juve by end of next season - Agent|
|Martinez not planning Eto´o replacement|
|Blatter formally submits bid to remain FIFA president|
|Puncheon predicts ´great times´ for Palace|
|Donadoni has no plans to leave Parma and criticises Cassano|
|Mangala: My first season at City could have been better|
|UAE v Iraq: Rare podium finish on offer|
|Ryan spurred on by Australia´s 2011 heartbreak|
|Montella will not sell Cuadrado cheap|
|Mali, Guinea furious with tie-breaking procedure|
|Luis Enrique defends Neymar´s behaviour|
|Gabi: Referee lacked personality|
|Chile 3 USA 2: Gonzalez´s brace extends Americans´ pain|
|Franjic cleared of serious injury|
|Our progression was deserved - Pochettino|
|Ivory Coast´s tournament starts now - Renard|
|Allegri rejects Juve criticism|
|Atletico´s Arda Turan escapes red card after throwing boot at assistant referee|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Barcelona 3 (agg 2-4): Neymar double secures semi-final spot|
|Parma 0 Juventus 1: Morata late show wins it for visitors|
|Sheffield United 2 Tottenham 2 (agg 2-3): Pochettino books Wembley final|
|Ecuador dismiss Vizuete|
|Championship Preview: Middlesbrough out to continue run, Bournemouth seek response|
|Guinea 1 Mali 1: Lots to decide Group D runners-up|
|Cameroon 0 Ivory Coast 1: Gradel strike sends Renard´s men through|
|Lots to be drawn to decide AFCON qualifiers|
|Eredivisie Preview: De Boer warning for Ajax, leaders PSV host Willem II|
|Bundesliga Preview: Leaders Bayern and Wolfsburg kick off Ruckrunde|
|Howard boost for Everton|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Jardim plays down Monaco title hopes ahead of Lyon showdown|
|Costa charged by FA for alleged Can stamp|
|O´Keefe joins Cardiff|
|Dons teenager Alli in demand|
|Gabriel seals Arsenal switch|
|Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: Guardiola eyes ´big step´ to Bundesliga title|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Rennes: Montanier seeks another upset in French capital|
|Martinez rules out panic buys|
|Gilardino targets Fiorentina goals|
|Milan agree Bocchetti loan|
|League Two Preview: Cambridge and Luton prepare to renew rivalries|
|Ronaldo hit with two-match ban|
|West Brom complete McManaman deal|
|Sullivan hits back in Sakho row|
|Richards: Cuadrado suited to Premier League|
|Figo to challenge for FIFA presidency|
|Inzaghi out to freshen up struggling Milan|
|Wigan agree a fee for Mckay|
|Carver eyes strong finish|
|Bowen cools talk of Stoke swoop for Sandro and Traore|
|Lazio-bound Morrison lands in Rome|
|Mourinho fined £25k for ´campaign´ claims|
|Mainz bring in Castillo|
|Villa: Lambert will not be sacked|
|Monk hopeful of adding new faces|
|Sainsbury ready to replace Franjic|
|Beckenbauer hopeful of Guardiola stay|
|Mourinho hits back at Costa critics|
|Rodriguez grateful for ´fundamental´ Ronaldo support|
|La Liga Preview: Real want revenge against Socieded|
|No Dallas move for Essien|
|Bale rubbishes United link, Ronaldo rift|
|Sahin in ´good shape´ for Bundesliga resumption|
|Rodgers slams Costa´s stamp collection|
|Under-fire Inzaghi urges patience|
|Rodgers: Courtois saved Chelsea|