Carlos Tevez struck twice as Argentina beat Mexico 3-1 to set up a meeting with Germany in the quarter-finals.
Tevez opened the scoring in controversial fashion and Gonzalo Higuain netted his fourth goal of the tournament before the break.
Tevez’s stunner extended Argentina’s lead after the restart, and Javier Hernandez’s strike proved mere consolation as some brave defensive work by Gabriel Heinze ensured Argentina would advance.
Manchester United striker Hernandez was handed his first start of the tournament, and it was Mexico who started the brightest; Carlos Salcido clattered the framework before Andres Guardado fired inches wide.
At the other end Lionel Messi was, as usual, causing problems but his chip was comfortably taken by Oscar Perez.
Hernandez then just missed the target at the other end before Tevez opened the scoring in controversial fashion.
Messi played the Manchester City striker in and his initial attempt was blocked by the goalkeeper, but the ball fell back out to the Barcelona star and again he chipped back in for Tevez, in an offside position, to head home.
The linesman then appeared to flag for offside having seen the replay on the big screen in the stadium but despite this, and pressure from the Mexico players, the referee did not rule out the goal.
And just as it could not have got any worse for Mexico, Ricardo Osorio gifted the ball to Higuain and he rounded Perez to stroke home Argentina’s second.
Salcido continued to try his luck from the distance and forced a fine save from Sergio Romero, while Osorio’s nightmare continued as he gave the ball away once again, but Efrain Juarez got in ahead of Messi to head clear the danger.
Perez then came to his side’s rescue with a fine stop to deny Angel Di Maria, and Higuain headed a great chance wide as Argentina threatened to run away with the game.
Mexico’s frustrations boiled over following the half time whistle and a melee ensued behind one of the dugouts as angry words were exchanged between the two sides.
The Mexican’s seemed to be channelling their anger in the right way upon the restart, but for all their pressure they could not find the target and soon found themselves three behind.
If there was controversy about Tevez’s opener there would not be any about his second, as he let fly with a thunderbolt from outside the area that gave Perez no chance as it nestled into the top right-hand corner.
Juarez spared Francisco Rodriguez’s blushes after he almost gifted Tevez his hat-trick, and Maxi could not get the ball out from under his feet after being played in.
Another long-range effort from Salcido was palmed over by Romero, and a goalline clearance from Heinze retained Argentina’s three-goal advantage as Mexico had a new burst of life.
However, the Mexicans were given some hope when Hernandez turned in the area before giving Romero no chance, blasting a shot past the Argentina goalkeeper.
While Argentina’s frontmen continue to earn the plaudits, Heinze was producing heroics at the back.
First he headed away as Rafael Marquez was poised to get on the end of Pablo Barrera’s dangerous cross, and then threw himself at another delivery into the box to clear the danger.
And despite his efforts at the other end Messi continues to wait for his first goal having, Perez pushing over in time added on after the diminutive playmaker danced between two players and curled a shot goalwards.
Argentina: Romero, Demichelis, Burdisso, Heinze, Di Maria (Jonas 79), Higuain, Messi, Tevez, (Veron 69) Mascherano, Otamendi, M Rodriguez (Pastore 87).
Goals: Tevez 26, 52, Higuain 33
Mexico: O Perez, F Rodriguez, C Salcido, R Marquez, R Osorio, G Torrado, J Hernandez, E Juarez, G dos Santos, A Guardado (G Franco 61), A Bautista (P Barrera 46).
Goal: Hernandez 71
Bookings: R Marquez (Mexico)