Argentina's hopes of making it into the FIFA U-20 World Cup last 16 are alive after a 0-0 draw with the now qualified Austria, but sitting on two points in Group B leaves them on the edge of the abyss, waiting on results elsewhere.
The pre-tournament favourites threw all they could at a red sea of defenders separating them from their target of a top two place in the group. The Europeans stood strong to qualify in second and book a trip to Whangarei in the Round of 16.
While the onus was on Argentina to take the game to Austria it was in fact the Europeans who started on the front foot, with Andreas Gruber testing Augusto Batalla inside the first minute, then laying on for Valentin Grubeck to volley just wide. This shaky start seemed to focus the minds of Humberto Grondona's men, who clicked into gear moments later.
As has been the case for much of the tournament, Angel Correa was the instigator as the South American champions pressed forward. He drove into the box to feed Nicolas Tripichio, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by, of all people, star striker Giovanni Simeone. The captain himself was next to go close, forcing Tino Casali into a save.
Simeone thought he had atoned for his previous mistake, but his neat turn and shot was ruled out for offside before he blotted his copybook once again as he missed the chance of the half. Inside the area he forced Casali into a smart stop, but when the ball fell back at his feet he should have converted rather than shooting narrowly wide.
Substitute Alejandro Romero, Leonardo Rolon and Correra all had efforts early on after the break, but a mixture of wayward shooting and a supreme display from Casali saw them come up short. The moment that summed up the keeper's nights, and Argentina's too, was when he superbly denied Tomas Martinez before making it a tremendous double save as Correa looked to score the follow-up.
Ultimately Argentina just couldn't find a way through the ten-man wall of Austrians standing between them and a certain place in the last 16. With two points to their name, they face a nervous wait to see if they can scrape through by the slenderest of margins.