Instead, Lionel Messi's men were torn apart by a clinical Croatia side, with Ante Rebic scoring the opener with a stunning volley after Willy Caballero's terrible attempt to pass out from the back.
Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic added late strikes to put Argentina on the brink of elimination.
As always, there were plenty of reactions on social media.
Brilliant from Modric but in all the years of watching Argentina I can’t remember them ever having such a poor side.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 21, 2018
Don’t cry for me Argentina 🇦🇷😭 pic.twitter.com/yIrsVtSlNh— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) June 21, 2018
On the last goal everyone on Argentina was walking when it’s a 3v1 in the box!!! On any stage but especially the WC that is disgusting.— Allie Long (@ALLIE_LONG) June 21, 2018
😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/E2O41QRUUC— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 21, 2018
I feel bad for Messi!! Hands down best player on the planet when he plays with Barcelona!! Ps: He did the right thing after Copa America to step away from international games— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) June 21, 2018
As we go about blaming Sampoli and Messi's teammates let's also be kind enough to remember that Argentina would be second with 3 points in their group had Messi scored that penalty against Iceland.— Danny WelBeast (@WelBeast) June 21, 2018
Pass it to the people at the back.
Cry For Me Argentina— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 21, 2018
The truth is, I never left you
All through my wild days, my mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance
I do feel bad for the Argentinian Salah— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) June 21, 2018
I feel bad for Messi 😢😢— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 21, 2018
Messi so disappointingly anonymous tonight. You would have thought he'd just decide to get back and sort it late on... the thing is, though. He's dragged this team to three finals, as this weird squad - who don't handle setbacks well - have become increasingly dependent on him...— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 21, 2018
Argentina will face Nigeria on Tuesday in their final match in Group D, likely needing a win and help from Croatia against Iceland in order to advance.