Martin Demichelis and Martin Palermo scored second-half goals Tuesday to help Argentina beat Greece 2-0 at the World Cup and earn first place in Group B.
One of the most impressive teams of the tournament, Argentina won all three of its group-stage games and will play Mexico on Sunday at Soccer City in Johannesburg. South Korea also advanced from the group, while Greece and Nigeria have been eliminated.
Demichelis scored from short range in the 77th minute after his header bounced off Diego Milito and back into his path. Palermo's game in the 89th from a rebound after Greece goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas had saved a shot by Lionel Messi.
Just minutes earlier, Messi's hard, left-footed shot hit the near post.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona made seven changes to the lineup that beat South Korea 4-1 five days earlier.
Captain Javier Mascherano and strikers Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain were all among those given the night off. That gave Messi the chance to wear the captain's armband for the first time. Turning 23 on Thursday, he's the youngest captain ever for the two-time world champions.
Midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron returned after missing the previous game with a right-calf injury.
Although their game was less fluent than in previous matches, Argentina dominated the match at 45,000-capacity Peter Mokaba Stadium, where their fans clearly outnumbered Greek supporters.
Argentina initially preferred to keep possession instead of pushing to create chances.
The first shot on goal came in the 18th minute when Sergio Aguero picked up a pass by Veron and dribbled past two Greece defenders before his left-foot shot forced Tzorvas into a diving save. A minute later, Tzorvas pushed the ball over the crossbar after a 30-yard attempt by Veron.
In the closing minutes of the first half, midfielder Maxi Rodriguez and Messi both saw their powerful shots blocked by the keeper.
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel had urged his players to produce the “match of their lives” to get a win against Argentina.