Argentina and England played a 0-0 draw on Monday in an Under-20 World Cup match that promised much but delivered little.

Argentina had a slight edge in possession but its top forwards Erik Lamela and Juan Iturbe were unable to finish against a somewhat understrength England side.

Argentina has four points in two matches in Group F - probably enough to reach the knockout stage - and England has two points and needs to win its final game.

Argentina finishes group play Thursday against North Korea and England faces Mexico. Mexico defeated North Korea 3-0 earlier on Monday.

Monday's result was a moral victory for England, which is playing with an understrength team. More than 30 players were withheld by their clubs for preseason training.

''We held up against a very good Argentine side,'' England coach Brian Eastick said. ''The result and effort was outstanding when you consider this team was only put together 2 1/2 weeks ago.''

England is also playing without its top forward Ryan Noble, who was sent home with a back injury.

The game between old rivals was closely fought, with Argentina managing only one shot in the first half and England none.

England did however get the ball in the net in the 32nd but Billy Knott was ruled offside.

The second half opened up a bit, yet both sides failed to cash in on scoring chances.

England's Saido Berahinoeng hit the side netting in the 55th minute, and teammate Matthew Phillips shot wide just two minutes later as England began to get the upper hand.

Argentina's Lamela had a great chance in the 60th but shot wide from a sharp angle. England goalkeeper Jack Butland stopped Matias Laba three minutes later in a scramble in front of the net.

England probably had its best chance in the 81st when Adam Smith broke free but shot just wide of the far post and keeper Esteban Andrada. A minute late Argentina defender German Pezzella chipped a close-range shot over the crossbar.

Argentina is widely expected to reach at least the semifinals. Coach Walter Perazzo has acknowledged he may lose his job if he does not reach that goal, following senior coach Sergio Batista who was fired last week after the team's lacklusters performance as Copa America host.

Argentina has won five of the past eight U-20 titles and six overall - the most by any nation.