Wednesday, July 1, 1998 Published at 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
England coming home
David Batty misses the final kick
They lost on penalties after playing much of the match with 10 men following the sending off of David Beckham.
But the whole affair began as it eventually ended - with the drama of penalties.
Gabriel Batistuta scored - though Seaman came close to saving.
Then four minutes later Michael Owen fell under a challenge in the box, and Alan Shearer placed a more impressive spot-kick high into the net.
At 18, Michael Owen should have plenty more World Cups left in him but he lit up this one with one of the best goals of this or any tournament.
From then on though, it was downhill all the way for England.
Javier Zanetti equalised on the stroke of half time with a clever free-kick routine, but then after the break came Beckham's moment of madness.
Beckham's retaliation was stupid enough, but his idiocy was compounded by the fact that the incident happened right under the nose of referee Nielsen, who first booked Simeone for the initial challenge, but then showed Beckham the red card for his retaliation.
There was also a penalty appeal turned down, but for most of the second half, and all of extra time, England's job was a defensive one.
Then came the penalties and England's hopes were raised when Seaman saved Hernan Crespo's effort. But the advantage was immediately wiped out when Paul Ince's penalty was beaten away.
Argentina's victory led to wild scenes in Buenos Aires.
Most Argentinians simply celebrated progress in the World Cup, but for some there was a political element for a country which still feels bitter about the 1982 war over the Falkland Islands.
Same old story
The conclusion many in England will draw is a familar one.
What if Beckham had kept his cool? What if Paul Scholes had taken a chance that would have given England a 3-1 lead? What if Campbell's 'goal' had stood?
And of course yet again, what if England's penalty takers were as accurate as their opponents?
This time it will be Ince and Batty who must come to terms with something Gareth Southgate, Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce all learned to live with.
But each one of the players will no doubt return home with a feeling of great disappointment that they so narrowly missed out.