Argentina lost to England, but proved it has what it takes to make history and advance

The game was still scoreless when England stepped up to take a penalty kick in the 28th minute of a Group D match Friday in Le Havre, France.

All throughout the 2019 Women’s World Cup, Argentina has tried to play a bend-but-don’t-break style of defense, pouring as many defenders back as possible and picking its spots to try counterattacks for offense. This would be Vanina Correa’s toughest test yet in net for Argentina.

The shot was close to perfect, screaming to the bottom corner of the net.

Correa was also close to perfect, sprawling her body across the turf at Stade Oceana to knock the shot into the post and preserve the scoreless draw.

It was only the start of an all-time performance for Correa, which still ended in a 1-0 loss, but established Argentina as a legitimate — and surprising — threat to advance to the knockout round of the Women’s World Cup.

Just four days after securing its first ever point in a World Cup with a scoreless draw against Japan, Argentina used the exact same template to nearly steal another point against England, the overwhelming favorite in the group. England controlled possession for 76 percent of the match, put seven shots on goal and outshot Argentina 17-2, and still Correa was one play away from sewing up another scoreless draw.

England’s only goal came on a play Correa had no shot at, a perfect cross which zipped just in front of her to let forward Jodie Taylor tap in the game-winning goal against an empty net.

With Correa in net, it’s impossible to count out Argentina, which would have seemed crazy just a week ago. Argentina went nearly two years with its team shut down because of a lack of funding.

The players had to sue their national federation just to get paid what they were owed. It was one of the last teams in the field, winning a playoff after finishing third in Copa America to earn its trip to France.

Now all Argentina needs is to steal a win against Scotland, the worst team it will play in the group stage, to advance to the knockout stage for the first time in history.