Argentina forward Carlos Tevez conceded the South Americans had not produced their best form during a subdued 0-0 draw against Holland in Group C.
Tevez made an impression on his first World Cup start
With both sides already assured of qualifying for the second round, the match was lit up by only the occasional flash of individual brilliance.
And Tevez, who was named man of the match, said: "It was difficult.
"We didn't play the kind of football that we like to play, but we were facing a very strong team."
However, the Corinthians striker, who has been strongly linked with a summer move to Chelsea, insisted Argentina could take positives from the performance.
It made no difference to us whether we set up a match against Mexico or Portugal
"We kept the ball well. All that was missing was goals," said the 22-year-old.
Coach Jose Pekerman also hinted there was more to come from his side in this competition.
"We still have to make improvements from the past matches. Both teams played very well," he said.
"We could not take any risks today, but the players still showed they had the motivation to try to win the game."
Defender and stand-in captain Roberto Ayala insisted the side were unconcerned before the game who their second round opponents would be, saying: "The aim has been achieved. The team is growing game by game.
"It made no difference to us whether we set up a match against Mexico or Portugal. They are both rivals to be much respected."