Andy Robinson’s men must win against England to have any hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals after surrendering a six-point lead with eight minutes remaining. Scotland collected a losing bonus point and are tied with Argentina on 10 points, while England lead Pool B on 14 points.
Some consolation for Scotland’s players for their heart-breaking loss was that qualification remains possible in six days’ time against their arch rivals.
“It’s pretty low, but you’ve just got to pick yourself up and get on with it,” said prop Allan Jacobsen.
“We’ve got a big game on Saturday and it’s cup final time for us. We need to get past this, recover, analyse, whatever, but we need to get ready for Saturday in Auckland.
“We’re playing England in a do-or-die match in the World Cup – it’s not like you have to be motivated.”
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino’s match-winning try came amid what Scotland head coach Andy Robinson described as “30 seconds of madness”. Scotland failed to collect the restart following a Dan Parks drop goal, Graeme Morrison was penalised for offside and the Pumas worked it wide where Gonzalez Amorosino rounded Chris Paterson to score in the right corner which Argentine captain Felipe Contepomi converted. Scotland had an opportunity to win but Parks missed a drop goal a minute from time.
The Argentineans had strayed offside and Parks was forced onto his left foot but the penalty was not given.
“There are different things you try in different games,” said Parks. “You play on the edge of the law. I haven’t seen the replay, but there certainly was a lot of pressure. And if you get away with it, fair play.”
While the loss leaves Scotland facing elimination at the group stages for the first time, England could also exit if the Scots beat Martin Johnson’s side by more than seven points and Argentina claim a four-try bonus-point win over Georgia on Sunday.
But it’s 25 years since Scotland beat England by the required margin.
“We’ve got confidence that we’ve beaten them recently [in 2008], albeit at Murrayfield, but we hope to do it away from home and in Auckland next Saturday,” said full-back Paterson.
Scorers for Argentina: Tries: L Gonzalez Amorosino. Cons: F Contepomi. Pens: F Contepomi (two).
Scorers for Scotland: Pens: Paterson, Jackson. Drop Goals: R Jackson, D Parks.
ARGENTINA: M Rodriguez, G Camacho, M Bosch, F Contepomi (capt), H Agulla, S Fernandez, N Vergallo; R Roncero, M Ledesma, J Figallo, M Carizza, P Albacete, J Farias Cabello, JM Leguizamon, JM Fernandez Lobbe.
Replacements: L Gonzalez Amorosino for Rodriguez (64), M Scelzo for Roncero (36), A Creevy for Ledesma (74), G Fessia for Fernandez Lobbe (30).
SCOTLAND: C Paterson, M Evans, N De Luca, G Morrison, S Lamont, R Jackson, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, R Gray, J Hamilton, A Strokosch, J Barclay, K Brown.
Replacements: A Dickinson for Jacobsen (61), D Hall for Ford (71), N Hines for Gray (56), R Vernon for Brown (78).
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).