Argentina under-20s have been far from their best at the South American Championship in Ecuador but Sunday’s heavy defeat to the hosts was an embarrassing low which now leaves Los Pibes on the brink of missing out on the World Cup.
Uruguay’s earlier victory over Colombia meant Argentina had to win to remain with a chance of winning the tournament but the far greater danger now is not even qualifying for South Korea.
Claudio Ubeda’s side never got going against Ecuador and fell behind shortly before half time when Pervis Estupiñán slotted home a penalty following a handball in the area.
In need of a reaction after the break, Argentina made changes but it made no difference and two goals in the space of five minutes killed off any hopes of a comeback.
Jordy Caicedo tapped in the second shortly before the hour mark and minutes later more woeful defending allowed Bryan Cabezas to slide in number three.
The nature of the defeat was perhaps more worrying than the result and Claudio Ubeda needs a huge improvement against Brazil on Wednesday evening if Argentina are not going to miss out on the World Cup.