It was not supposed to be this way. Argentina with Lionel Messi and Carlos tevez were supposed top restore pride to Argentina football by winning the Copa America at home. Instead they are in danger of not even reaching the quarter-finals after being held to a 0-0 draw by Colombia.
Argentina were simply poor against Columbia and could easily have lost if Dayro Moreno not missed a sitter after on 25 minutes, with the goal at his mercy following a mix-up in the Argentinian defence.
A 40,000 crowd watched with horrified fascination as the team that had so laboured to find its feet against the Bolivians once again struggled to impress, showing no sign that it can end an 18-year trophy drought.
Messi’s sloping shoulders and scowls told their own story, with Argentina coach Sergio Batista throwing on opening-day scorer Sergio Aguero for Ezequiel Lavezzi on the hour, and then Gonzalo Higuain for Ever Banega with 20 minutes remaining to try and get a goal from somewhere. But none was forthcoming.
Now Argentina simply must beat Costa Rica in Cordoba on Monday if they are to repair their fading credibility. Another scoreless draw is unthinkable for La Albiceleste fans to contemplate.