Given Argentina’s path to qualification, the issues surrounding selecting the squad and the injury to Lautaro Martínez during the preparation, La Albiceleste’s struggles at the under-20 World Cup are perhaps not a surprise but Claudio Úbeda will be deeply disappointed with the 3-0 defeat his side suffered at the hands of England.
The scoreline perhaps flattered the victors but the same problems of suspect defending, poor goalkeeping, an unfamiliar system and ill-discipline came back to haunt Argentina.
Argentina had been the better side for much of the first half and came close to taking the lead when Santiago Colombatto headed against the crossbar.
However, it was England that led at the break after Dominic Calvert Lewin headed past Franco Petroli.
Ezequiel Ponce had shown flashes of his talent but Marcelo Torres looked wasted stuck out wide and Argentina missed the threat of Lautaro Martínez in attack.
The Racing striker, whose goals at the Sudamericano got Argentina to the World Cup, was only deemed fit enough for the bench but after Adam Armstong dashed through a static defence to fire the ball past a badly positioned Petroli, Úbeda turned to his star.
Martínez’s contribution was minimal however and fifteen minutes after his introduction, the forward was shown a red card for an elbow on Fikayo Tomori. Somewhat controversially, the decision only came after the referee observed the video replays and even, the intent was far from decisive.
Dominic Solanke wrapped up the win with a late penalty and with it earned England a first win at the under-20 World Cup in twenty years.
Argentina face hosts South Korea on Tuesday without Lautaro Martínez and are already facing an uphill battle to progress from the group stages.
Argentina: Franco Petroli; Gonzalo Montiel, Juan Foyth, Marcos Senesi, Milton Valenzuela; Santiago Ascacibar, Santiago Colombatto; Marcelo Torres, Exequiel Palacios, Lucas Rodríguez; Ezequiel Ponce