Johannesburg: Two-time champions Argentina profited from yet another officiating mistake at the 2010 World Cup to beat Mexico 3-1 Sunday and set up a quarter-final date with Germany.
Carlos Tevez scored twice, though his opening goal in the 26th minute should have been disallowed, but Italian linesman Stefano Ayroldi failed to rule that the Manchester City striker was clearly offside.
Gonzalo Higuain hit the shocked Mexicans for the 2-0 lead and his fourth of the tournament in the 33rd minute after a defensive miscue. And then Tevez finished any hopes for Mexico with a hammer blast in the 52nd minute.
Javier Hernandez scored a consolation goal in the 71st minute for the Mexicans in front of 84,377 fans at Johannesburg`s Soccer City Stadium.
`I needed a match like this in the World Cup to prove I am happy, that I`m fine and really want to go for glory and wear this shirt,` said Tevez, who was selected man of the match.
`It took us some time to get into the match. We couldn`t get the ball early on and Mexico were strong on the ball. Afterwards we got into the match and it got better and better.`
Next up for the 1978 and 1986 champions Argentina is a sixth World Cup showdown with Germany Saturday. The game will also be a rematch of Germany`s quarter-final penalty shootout win in 2006.
The other two Germany-Argentina highlights were Argentina beating Germany in the 1986 final and Germany returning the favour over Argentina in the 1990 final.
Asked about Germany, Argentina coach Diego Maradona said: `Let me just enjoy this match against Mexico. Why should I think about Germany? I can think about them tomorrow. You have carte blanche to write whatever you want about what I think about Germany`.
The coach was, however, pleased with the performance.
`We won a great match. It was a match with a great deal of tension and both teams played well.
`We knew whenever we decided to attack them and tighten them in the areas we wanted we would gain the advantage. We were the better team over the 90 minutes`.
Mexico head home from a World Cup yet again after losing at the Round of 16 stage - as had been the case in the previous four tournaments.
They started the game in fine form with a number of strong chances. Carlos Salcido hammered a long ball off the crossbar in the eighth minute and Andres Guardado`s left foot shot went just centimetres wide of the far left post a minute later.
And then Hernandez went wide right in the 14th minute as the Mexican defence stood well early on.
But it was Argentina who grabbed the lead in the 26th minute on an officiating mistake.
Messi played through to Tevez, but Mexico keeper Oscar Perez blocked the ball back to Messi. The Barcelona playmaker then flicked the ball back onto Tevez, who was offside before heading home - though linesman Ayroldi missed the call.
Before Mexico could find their way back into the game, Argentina doubled the lead in the 33rd minute - this time on a mistake by Mexican defender Ricardo Osorio who played the ball directly into the path of Higuain. The Real Madrid striker held off Osorio, circled Perez and slotted home to take the lead in the 2010 World Cup scorer`s list.
Tempers rose at the end of the first half as the teams had to be separated on their way into the dressing rooms.
Then Tevez made sure that it was not just mistakes that allowed Argentina to advance to the final eight with a fantastic goal to make it 3-0 at the 52-minute mark: Out of nothing, Tevez unleashed a brilliant hammer strike from 25 yards into the upper right corner.
Mexico remained determined to at least get on the scoreboard and pulled back a goal with 19 minutes left on a fine individual effort by Hernandez, who spun on his marker and struck into the roof of the net.
But that would be all Argentina would allow - and Perez made a superb save on Messi two minutes into stoppage time.
Aguirre said: `The first goal sort of took away our will and orientation. We lacked the power to overcome that and the second goal wasn`t necessarily fatal but it was hard to come back after that.`