Despite all the in-fighting, bickering and conspiracy theories that have dominated the dark few days since losing to Croatia, Argentina somehow got themselves together and qualified for the World Cup last-16, setting up a fascinating meeting with France.
For so long it looked like yet more strife for Jorge Sampaoli's side, or rather what is supposed to be Jorge Sampaoli's side. And there will most likely be more strife to come, because while this was a huge result for Argentina, it is surely a case of delaying the inevitable implosion.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a typically sublime goal, but after Victor Moses scored from the spot just after half-time Argentina needed a sweetly struck volley from Marcos Rojo in the 86th minute to claim their place in the next round.
To give them their due, they looked a lot more solid, more unified, than they did against Croatia, and under trying circumstances. Whoever picked the team deserves credit, and whoever rallied them into a frenzy does, too.
The players looked like they knew what they were doing, broadly, and provided Messi with a chance to score a goal. That's more than most teams, maybe even better teams than Argentina, can rely upon.
Yet for all the jubilation that greeted Rojo's late winner there should be concerns.
In an article published in the Guardian on Tuesday, Argentina legend Jorge Valdano spelled out what he thinks is wrong with football in Argentina. A crucial part of it is that Argentines have become too concerned with fight and passion and not skill and style.
That conflict was essentially played out in microcosm in Saint Petersburg.
Many Argentina fans - and certainly many of the 30,000 in Saint Petersburg - demand their players to "ponga huevo"; to put in some effort, to show some balls.
And if Argentina did nothing else against Nigeria, they at least did that. Their defenders and midfielders slid in with genuine purpose for every loose, or semi-loose, ball around their own box, often more than one of them jumping in at the same time.
They knew they had to do better than they did against Croatia, and as if to prove Valdano's point they clearly believed that the best way to do that was to fight and scrap for every 50-50, or 30-70.
But when that overzealousness caused Javier Mascherano to concede a penalty not long into the second half, Argentina found themselves needing much more than graft, and again it was in short supply.
As against Iceland and Croatia, they had plenty of time to respond to adversity, and this time they managed it. But only just.
They had nearly 40 minutes to get themselves back into the lead - the only result that would have sent them through - after Moses' penalty, but for so long they looked aimless.
Cristian Pavon was a bright spark off the bench but he could not unpick Nigeria on his own, Messi had dropped deep to help out Mascherano, who was struggling, and in trying to get the goal they needed Argentina allowed the African side several gilt-edged chances to nick a winner of their own on the break.
When Gonzalo Higuain wasted the first good chance they had created since conceding the equaliser, in the last 10 minutes, it looked like the game was up.
But then Rojo made himself an unlikely hero by executing the kind of finish that would have initially led millions to believe that it was a finisher with the quality of Sergio Aguero, Higuain or even Messi himself.
And while all this drama was unfolding, Iceland and Croatia were finely poised down in Rostov. It was 1-1 when Rojo struck and another goal for Iceland would have sent the Europeans through instead.
Moments after Argentina's goal, however, Croatia put themselves back in front, extinguishing Iceland's hopes and sparking wild celebrations in the stands, in the press box, and in the Argentina dug-out here. When the final whistle was blown in Rostov, Sampoali and an army of coaches encroached onto the pitch to tell the players to cling on for dear life, and they did.
Their reward is a clash with France on Saturday. Didier Deschamps, albeit to a lesser extent than Sampaoli, is struggling to get the best out of his impressive collection of players, and it will be interesting to see if Argentina's recently discovered relative solidity, combined with Messi's brilliance, will be enough to keep this momentum going.
This is, however, essentially the best Argentina can hope for this summer; to be a solid, determined team that gives the ball to Messi as often as possible.
It will surely not take them all the way to the final - there are too many issues that surely cannot be rectified - but it is good enough for now.