Argentina's theme at this World Cup seems to be scrappy wins with Lionel Messi pulling through at the last minute to save the day.
This time he didn't score on his own, but set the stage for Angel Di Maria to score an extra-time winner against Switzerland.
"It doesn't matter if it's beautiful or ugly," Di Maria said. "Only that Argentina won and will play another game in the tournament."
Argentina will play Belgium in the quarterfinals.
Except for its final group-stage win over Nigeria, Argentina has won its matches in Brazil in the same manner -- grinding down its opponents rather than dazzling them with brilliant football.
When cracks started opening in the defense in the second half, goalkeeper Diego Benaglio kept Switzerland in the game, stopping Gonzalo Higuain's header and Messi's low shot in the 78th minute.
Benaglio also saved a powerful attempt by Di Maria in extra time, and it looked like the Swiss would be able to push the game into a penalty shootout. Then, in the 118th, Rodrigo Palacio won the ball in midfield and fed Messi, who dribbled down the middle in trademark fashion, escaping a challenge from Swiss defender Fabian Schaer before poking the ball to Di Maria. Unmarked, the Real Madrid player beat Benaglio with his 10th goal in Argentina's colors.
"What's important is that we moved on to the next stage," said Messi, who has scored four of Argentina's seven goals, including an injury-time winner against Iran. "It was difficult. We knew it was going to be a hard match."
Swiss substitute Blerim Dzemaili nearly equalized right before the end but his header hit the post, and the rebound bounced off his knee and wide of the goal.
Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, whose brother died at age 81 on the eve of the match, said his team leaves the tournament with "our heads high. We made life very tough for them."
Hitzfeld said it was his last match as a football coach. He had earlier said he would quit after the tournament.
Fixing allegations: Cameroon's football federation said it will investigate allegations of match-fixing by its team and the possible existence of seven corrupt players on the squad, raising fears that match manipulation has infected football's biggest event.
Fecafoot said in a statement that it had instructed its own ethics committee to open an investigation into accusations by convicted fixer Wilson Raj Perumal that there were "seven bad apples" on the West African team at the World Cup.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said the governing body would not comment on details "so as to not compromise any possible investigations."
The Netherlands: Midfielder Nigel de Jong's World Cup appears to be over after tests confirmed he has a tear in his groin muscle. De Jong had been in outstanding form, dominating the midfield and helping create a platform for the front pair of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben. The tournament was something of a rehabilitation of the reputation of a player remembered by most for his chest-high tackle on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final four years ago.