At the final whistle, goalkeeper Vanina Correa fell to her knees as her teammates embraced each other. Though they had not won, they had created history.
The scoreline would suggest that the goalless draw between Japan and Argentina was a dull stalemate, but that would not do justice to what Argentina achieved on a balmy Parisian evening in the Parc de Princes.
Argentina had lost all six of its previous World Cup games by an aggregate score of 33-2. Indeed, the underdogs were playing a Japan side ranked seventh in the world, 30 places above Argentina in FIFA’s rankings.
An indefatigable spirit — and Japan’s bluntness in attack — ensured that the South Americans came away from a Women’s World Cup match with a point for the first time in their history.
Comfortable in possession, Japan dominated midfield but it wasn’t until the second half that Argentina’s defense was truly troubled.
For all of Japan’s neat passes and Estefania Banini’s flashes of brilliance during Argentina’s rare forays into the opposition half, neither side managed a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
There were cries of “Argentina, Argentina” from pockets of the 25,055 fans in the Parc des Princes, and decibels rose every time the Argentines entered opposition territory, but Argentina — competing in a Women’s World Cup for only the third time — never looked like taking the three points.
A draw, however, was surprise enough.
The other game in Group D took place on Sunday, with England taking top spot after defeating Scotland 2-1 in Nice.