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The Albiceleste forward was named man of the match for the fourth consecutive time after his fine performance against Switzerland in the round of 16

Lionel Messi has admitted Argentina struggled with nerves during their frustrating contest with Switzerland, especially as the threat of World Cup elimination loomed large.

The Albiceleste looked lethargic as they enjoyed the majority of possession but struggled to use the ball effectively against the resilient Swiss. With the scores level at 0-0 after 90 minutes, the contest went to extra time, before a late Angel Di Maria strike settled things and sent Argentina through to the quarter-finals.

“At times, [we felt] nervousness because we could not get the goal and any mistake could put us out of the World Cup," the Barcelona star told Marca.

“Minutes passed and we did not want to go to penalties.”

The Swiss looked determined to preserve the deadlock, but Messi was influential in sending Argentina through. The number 10 set off on a darting run through the heart of the Swiss backline, before passing to Di Maria who hammered home.

“First, I thought ‘gamble’,” Messi said, “but then ‘Noodle’ [Di Maria] appeared and I decided to pass it.

"I do not know if it [the win] was deserved or not, but the important thing is that we are in another round, which was what we wanted.

“The important thing is that we are still in the tournament."

Argentina have made the quarter-finals for the fourth World Cup in five. The only time in the last 20 years that they failed to make the last eight was in 2002, when they were eliminated at the first hurdle.