Stephan Lichtsteiner's Swiss Army knifed late by Argentina

Clive Rose

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

With Paul Pogba ensuring Juventino had some rooting interests in the quarterfinals, the onus today was on Stephan Lichtsteiner to join him there. The task was never going to be easy against Argentina, but Switzerland did have the benefit of the home crowd support as the Brazilian fans were happy to support anyone-but-Argentina.

In the first half Lichtsteiner and his fellow fullback Richard Rodriguez had a great game frustrating the Albiceleste. Both played pretty high up and kept the wings clean, forcing Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi to go into the middle to find the ball. Josip Drmic spurned the best chance of the half when he feebly chipped straight at Argentina goalie Sergio Romero despite being 1-on-1 with time and space to play. It was not until Rodrigo Palacio came on for Lavezzi that Lichsteiner was challenged but most of the second half was otherwise gritty with both sides coming close to scoring.

Drmic missed another chance in the second half and this would come back to haunt the Swiss as Di Maria scored with just two minutes left in extra time, and then Blerim Dzemaili first hit the post before missing the tap-in from the rebound to send Switzerland home. Lichtsteiner can now get some added rest before Juventus training camp.

Earlier in the day we also heard reports regarding Lichsteiner's contract extension. With one year left in his previous contract, Juventus have offered him a £2m-a-year, two-year deal but the Swiss Express is looking for about £2.4m per year. At 31 years of age, he did look like he slowed down significantly towards the end of last season. With Martin Caceres and Mauricio Isla on the books to provide depth, there is a possibility that Juve could offload him over the summer or even in January. Among the interested parties are Arsenal, who have been scouting him pretty thoroughly for the last month or so to replace Bacary Sagna. Chelsea have also been rumored to be interested as they seek to replace Cesar Azpilicueta who slides over to the left.

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