Scotland 12 Argentina 13
Scotland must beat England to have any hope of progressing to the knockout stages of the World Cup after suffering an agonising Pool B defeat to Argentina in Wellington.
Drop goals from Ruaridh Jackson and Dan Parks had put Scotland 12-6 ahead with eight minutes remaining but Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino’s converted try seven minutes from time handed the Pumas a victory which maintains their hopes of qualification for the knockout stages.
Scotland claimed a losing bonus point and are now level on 10 points with Argentina, who play Georgia next Sunday.
Scotland were seeking a sixth successive win - a feat not achieved since the 1989-90 Grand Slam-winning season - and one which would ensure they maintained their record of progressing to the knockout stages at every World Cup tournament.
Wet conditions did not stop Scotland looking to move the ball through the hands and an attacking move involving Sean Lamont was penalised by referee Wayne Barnes within the opening moments due to obstruction.
Argentina smothered the tackler wide on the left after seven minutes, presenting Paterson with the first attempt at goal of the night, but the full-back pushed his penalty narrowly wide.
The Pumas spurned their own three-point opportunity after a free-kick for an infringement at a Scotland scrum inside their own 22 handed over possession.
Argentina encountered stern resistance and full-back Martin Rodriguez opted to go for a drop goal which was unsuccessful.
Nick De Luca was penalised for failing to release the ball out wide and Contepomi pointed to the posts, but missed from near halfway.
A second attempt soon followed in front of the posts for offside at the breakdown and Contepomi put Argentina 3-0 up after 19 minutes.
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe appeared to be struggling with a knee problem.
The number eight limped on, but only until the 31st minute when he was replaced by Genaro Fessia.
Cross was penalised at a scrum near the halfway line and again Argentina pointed to the posts, but Rodriguez’s kick did not have the distance.
Scotland continued to look to spread the ball wide, with De Luca and Max Evans looking dangerous, but Barclay took the ball into contact wide on the left when Lamont was outside him.
Lamont and then Alastair Strokosch turned over the ball in promising positions for Scotland.
Strokosch lost the ball forward, but Argentina prop Rodrigo Roncero was penalised at the subsequent scrum and Paterson levelled matters.
Roncero was replaced at the next stoppage with Martin Scelzo introduced.
Jackson assumed the kicking duties for a 45-metre penalty after Argentina failed to release and he put Scotland in front for the first time after 39 minutes.
The rain teemed down and the match remained tight and cagey early in the second period.
An Evans chip and chase almost ignited matters, but Barclay lost the ball in support and Argentina scrambled the ball clear.
Jackson kicked the ball out on the full and Argentina knocked on from the subsequent line-out as the errors mounted.
Nathan Hines replaced Gray before Paterson missed a drop-goal attempt from inside the Argentina 22 after Scotland had made inroads only to encounter stubborn defence.
Scotland were penalised for offside at a ruck wide on the right and Contepomi pointed to the posts before kicking off target.
Cross was again penalised at the scrum for collapsing the front row, offering Contepomi a further opportunity and the captain levelled the scores.
Jackson restored Scotland’s lead two minutes later with a drop goal, but Contepomi was offered a further chance when Hamilton failed to release after making a tackle. He hit the post to reprieve Scotland.
Parks replaced Jackson and pushed Scotland deep into the Argentina 22 with his first kick.
Dougie Hall, on at hooker for Ross Ford, found Strokosch at the back of the line-out and Scotland attempted to rumble their way to the line before Blair found Parks who drilled over a drop goal.
It pushed Scotland six points clear, but from the restart Argentina won the ball, spread it wide to the right and substitute Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino waltzed around Paterson and Lamont to score.
Contepomi kicked the subsequent conversion to put the Pumas ahead.
Gonzalez Amorosino fumbled a Parks kick and Scotland’s forwards moved into position for a drop-goal attempt.
Parks had to make space for a left-foot shot at goal and missed and Scotland’s chance was gone as the Pumas triumphed.