After a relatively disastrous group stage on the defensive side of the ball, Switzerland showed up ready to play against the offensive juggernaut of Lionel Messi and Argentina. Lead by a phenomenal performance from Gokhan Inler and a truly standout performance from the so-far disappointing Johan Djourou, the Swiss were able to force extra time before a 118th minute goal from Angel Di Maria sealed their voyage home.
The first half was a truly back and forth affair, as Switzerland pushed Argentina to the brink of conceding multiple times through the brilliant offensive interplay of both Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka. Juxtaposed to the Argentinian performance, which was devoid of incisiveness, Switzerland did a masterful job of crafting and creating a truly meaningful first half. However, the second half saw the Argentinian attack wake up as Di Maria and Messi took full control of the game pushing the Swiss to the brink.
It was fully a game that deserved to be decided by extra time. Unfortunately, the cruel mistress of fate denied us the most fitting of ends in the penalty shootout.
Xherdan Shaqiri was electric and showed exactly why Bayern Munich spent their hard earned money on him just two summers ago. Leading the Swiss attack and providing the crucial linkup play between the defensive midfield and lone striker Josip Drmic, Shaqiri totaled 4 shots and 6 key passes over the 120 minutes. His movement, speed on the ball, and highly technical play were a nightmare for Argentina during the entire match. It's refreshing to see that exactly what we expect from Xherdan Shaqiri is still under the hood just waiting to be unleashed.