Argentina disposed of Mexico to seal a quarter-final tie against Germany - but Diego Maradona's side were aided by another terrible decision on a day of controversy at the World Cup.
Just as England had been incensed earlier on Sunday when a Frank Lampard shot that clearly crossed the goal-line was not awarded in their match against Germany, so Mexico had the right to feel aggrieved by another example of awful officiating.
Javier Aguirre's side probably edged an engrossing opening phase to the contest, but they never recovered after Carlos Tevez headed Argentina in front despite being yards offside when the ball was played to him by Lionel Messi.
It was a decision that prompted the Mexican side to surround the linesman in the aftermath of the goal being awarded and led to a melee as the referee tried to leave the field at the break.
Mexico's prospects of clawing their way back into the contest faded after Ricardo Osorio gifted possession to Gonzalo Higuain, who slotted home his fourth goal of the competition to give Argentina breathing space by the break.
And Tevez's sensational second-half strike ensured that Maradona's team continued their excellent form in South Africa with their fourth straight win of the tournament.
They can now focus on gaining a measure of revenge on Germany, who knocked them out of the 2006 World Cup at the quarter-final stage after a penalty shoot-out.
But the match will doubtless leave a bitter taste in the mouth for Mexico, who pulled a goal back through Javier Hernandez.
El Tri were intent on avenging their defeat against Argentina in 2006 but have now bowed out of the last five World Cups at the round of 16 stage.
Until Argentina took a grip on the tie by scoring twice in eight first-half minutes it had been a fascinating contest between two sides that were obviously comfortable in possession.
There were some wonderful passages of play as both sides enjoyed periods when they probed their opponent's defensive structure with crisp passing and intelligent movement.
Carlos Salcido crashed a long-range effort against the crossbar and Andres Guardado shot narrowly wide as Mexico found space in front of an Argentina backline that many believe to be a possible weak link in an otherwise gifted side.
There had been relatively little to alarm the Mexican side when Tevez struck his controversial opener, which came after his initial effort had been smothered by Oscar Perez and Messi hooked the rebound back into the box.
The goal clearly rattled the Mexicans, particularly after they saw a replay on the big screen inside Soccer City and surrounded the guilty linesman in angry protest.
Several Argentine players, waiting for the restart, joined the fray, perhaps fearing the goal would be ruled out - and there was confusion inside the ground but Tevez's headed finish stood.
Mexico only had themselves to blame for the Albiceleste's second after Osorio, under no immediate pressure, scuffed a pass close to the edge of his penalty area, allowing Higuain to snatch the ball before rounding Perez and slotting home.
Higuain should probably have sealed Argentina's place in the last eight before the break but headed wide from six yards, while Mexico's Manchester United-bound Javier Hernandez was inches from connecting with a cross in injury time.
The Tevez goal was clearly still a source of frustration and several Mexicans surrounded Italian referee Roberto Rosetti and his team as they made their way from the field.
Within seconds players from both teams, plus the ever-involved Maradona, had formed a scrum that threatened to boil over.
Poor officiating and sloppy play had nothing to do with the decisive third goal, which came shortly after the restart when Tevez rifled the ball into the top corner with an unstoppable long-range effort.
Mexico might have thrown in the towel but continued to press, with Hernandez heading wide again and Gabriel Heinze clearing off the line from substitute Guillermo Franco.
They did pull one back when the previously profligate Hernandez turned beautifully to lose the flat-footed Martin DeMichelis before burying a shot beyond Sergio Romero.
Messi, who had a quiet second half, almost scored his first of the tournament late on after a mazy run but his shot was well saved.
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
Projected table based on current scores
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