ARGENTINA set up a salivating World Cup quarterfinal clash against Germany after a clinical destruction of Mexico at Soccer City last night as they stretched their winning record to nine consecutive matches.
The South Americans were in irresistible form to set up a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 finals against the Germans. They initially rode their luck to dismantle the volatile Mexicans but once they edged in front, there was only one team in it.
A meeting with Germany, who earlier in the day smashed England 4-1 in Bloemfontein, is undoubtedly the pick of the last eight encounters and a match that will pit two of the best attacking teams in the tournament against each other in Cape Town.
While Argentina's first goal was fortunate, the next two were brilliantly taken as they took their tally to 10 in the tournament. Mexico became increasingly ragged in the face of the total onslaught from Diego Maradona's side and were never able to regather their poise after an early setback.
Matches involving teams from Latin America are always sure to be emotional affairs but with the added pressure of a World Cup knockout match, combined with a howler of a decision by the officials, this match erupted into a flurry of histrionics.
Argentina were awarded a 26th minute goal scored off Carlos Tevez's head, after superb work by playmaker Lionel Messi, even though Tevez was clearly offsides.
The incident unfolded in a flash and while television showed that Tevez was at least a metre offside after his initial shot ricocheted off goalkeeper Oscar Perez, for Messi to feed it back into the area, the officials awarded the goal.
Similar to England earlier in the day, who weren't awarded a legitimate goal, Mexico conceded an illegitimate goal. It was unjust but until Fifa utilises electronic technology incorrect decisions will continue.
The two officiating debacles, in two different matches, had a massive impact on not only the game, but the tournament and by extension on the nations of England and Mexico.
Argentina's second goal though, scored five minutes later, had to do with appalling defending as Mexico were still fuming about the injustice.
Their lack of focus allowed Gonzalo Higuain to pounce on an under-hit pass from Mexican defender Ricardo Osorio and cleverly beat Perez to put Argentina 2-0 up.
With Messi controlling the midfield and Tevez proving a handful up front there was no way back for the North Americans who suffered a 2-1 defeat against Argentina at the same stage four years ago.
After the break Tevez beat three defenders and smashed a 25-metre drive into the top left corner to put the contest beyond Mexico's reach.
Mexico scored a late consolation through Javier Hernandez.