It was impossible to separate Spain and Argentina in their final Group C match at Soccer Only Field in Gwangyang on Saturday. A 1-1 stalemate means both teams go through, with the Europeans qualifying as section winners.
Already assured of a place in the Round of 16 and with one eye on that game, Spain kicked off the encounter with their first-choice performers on the bench. That philosophy contrasted sharply with Argentina's fierce desire to win at all costs, an attitude rewarded after 32 minutes when neat passing between Pablo Rolon, Eduardo Salvio and Carlos Benitez led to the latter spinning and firing home from the edge of the area. Iago came close to equalising in first-half stoppage-time, but his excellent free-kick cannoned off an upright.
Spain were more ambitious after the interval and twice looked destined to score early on, only for Daniel Aquino to fluff his finishing touch. All hope was not lost, however, and with 68 minutes gone it proved to be a case of third time lucky as 'Dani' powered a header in at the near post from Isma Lopez's right-wing cross. The Argentinians responded by looking for the winner that would win them the group, but could do no better than substitute Santiago Fernandez's thunderous drive, which struck the woodwork.