Adam Dixon’s late effort was not enough for England as they bowed out of the Hockey World League Finals 2017 in the last-eight after meeting their match in a stubborn and clinical Argentina.
Bobby Crutchley’s side had not beaten their South American counterparts for more than 30 years and the wait goes on after the 3-2 defeat in Bhubaneswar, India.
A cagey opening quarter saw the teams cancel each other out, with England’s best chance coming from a driving Liam Sanford run, but his cross evaded his teammates.
But Argentina came out in the second quarter in clinical fashion, Mathias Paredes shooting wide under pressure as the Olympic champions threatened.
And they made their momentum count just moments later when Lucas Vila did well to redirect a shot home past George Pinner, who was powerless to stop a deflection so close to him.
After taking the lead, Argentina moved through the gears and put pressure on England, doubling their lead on 27 minutes.
The dangerous Paredes managed to squeeze in from a narrow angle with a well-struck backhand that evaded Pinner in the England goal.
However, Crutchley’s charges responded immediately, David Condon rifling home in spectacular fashion inside the circle from Barry Middleton’s pass.
And they could have gone into half-time level-pegging, but Sam Ward’s shot seconds before the break was saved.
Carlos Retegui’s side started the third quarter in similarly swift fashion as they did the second and re-established their two-goal cushion within minutes of the restart.
Man of the match Juan Ignacio Gilardi did the honours from the penalty spot after Vila was brought down by Harry Jay Gibson following a slick Argentina move.
Keeper Gibson did make amends soon after to prevent it from going to 4-1, saving smartly from Vila as the Argentines turned the screw.
England probed for a way back into the game, with Mark Gleghorne’s drag flick forcing a fine stop from Juan Manuel Vivaldi.
Crutchley’s side did get a second in the dying moments, when Dixon’s cross was diverted past his own keeper by Lucas Rossi, but it proved to be too little, too late.