A last-minute goal by Julio Barroso sent Argentina through to the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 at the expense of a leaden-footed Colombia. While the clash of the South American heavyweights at the Emmen Stadium did not turn out to be the pulsating spectacle that was hoped for, it was none the less dramatic right until the very end.
Although Argentina were by far the more combative in the first half and enjoyed the lion's share of possession, they struggled to carve out many decent goal-scoring opportunities to worry the Cafetero defence.
The first real chance came on 12 minutes when the ubiquitous Lionel Messi threaded a magnificent ball through to Rodrigo Archubi, who somehow managed to shoot weakly wide with the keeper lying on the ground. Moments later, Messi was again in the thick of things, this time finding space in the area and cutting a cross back for Neri Cardozo. Unfortunately the striker's shot went straight at the keeper, who had no problems holding it.
Colombia spent much of the first half struggling to get past the half-way as they consistently failed to string more than two or three passes together in the face of constant harrying from the opposition. A half an hour had elapsed before Colombia got their first shot on goal. A mazy run down the right from Juan Zúñiga had the Albiceleste defence in knots, but the winger was unable to capitalise and had to settle for a corner.
Argentina continued to bear down on their opponent's goal but still with more desperation than aplomb. Cardozo squandered another couple of chances, firing wide after two fine assists by Messi. Then as the first forty-five drew to a close, Colombia broke en masse for one of their few decent counter-attacks. However Argentina, back-pedalling furiously snuffed out the danger and the teams went in at the break all square.
The Cafeteros had a more purposeful look about them after the interval and took the lead within seven minutes. After receiving a delightful pass from his captain Abel Aguilar, Harrison Otalvaro had the space and time to pick his spot (1-0, 52').
The goal seemed to spur on the Colombians who began who put together some fine moves. However their buoyant mood did not last long with Messi - who else - firing in a stinging riposte. The tireless Barcelona man won possession in midfield and made a beeline for the Colombian goal. Approaching the area he made a neat one-two with Cardozo before beating Arenas and becoming the first player to score against Colombia at Netherlands 2005 (1-1, 57').
The equaliser then saw the game return to the more languid pace of the first half, with Wason Rentería on his own up front and the Argentine goal relatively undisturbed. Things were busier at the other end where Arenas again had to go full stretch to keep out a goal-bound strike by Cardozo. Fifteen minutes into the half, Messi put a measured ball across the six-yard box, but there was no one on hand to steer it in.
Argentina began to look stronger and more menacing as the half wore on, with chances to break the deadlock falling to both Messi and Vitti. Then with the fourth official signalling three minutes of added time, Armenteros struck what he thought was the winning goal only to be denied by a spectacular diving save by Arenas.
But there was more excitement to come in added time when Julio Barroso, running from deep, managed to bring down a half-clearance and fire off an explosive shot that sent the Albicelestes through to the quarter-finals (1-2, 90+')
"The key to victory was the huge effort that my team put in, coupled with a discipline, desire and attitude that saw them attacking Colombia all over the field," said the Argentina coach Francisco Ferraro. "Now we have to maintain our focus as we haven't won anything yet. We need to keep our feet on the ground and stay calm ahead of our next challenge."
"We were faced with a very good Argentine side that won a lot of possession and found a lot of holes. We made a mistake with our game plan, but for now all I can do is offer my congratulations to Argentina. I hope they can go on and do South American football proud," said Eduardo Lara before making his exit.