Lionel Messi returned to the line-up but he was unable to inspire Argentina, which played out a stalemate against Qatar-bound Brazil in San Juan on Wednesday (AEDT).
That underwhelming performance left Copa America champion Argentina waiting to discover its World Cup fate.
Argentina only had to wait less than an hour as 10-man Chile lost 2-0 at home to Ecuador, sealing La Albiceleste's qualification after Colombia and Uruguay also failed to win.
Lionel Scaloni's Argentina – riding a 27-game unbeaten streak – is second in the CONMEBOL standings with five matches remaining, six points behind leader Brazil and six clear of third-placed Ecuador.
Argentina and Brazil have both played a game less following September's qualifier in Sao Paulo, which was sensationally abandoned after Scaloni's men left the field as Brazilian health officials tried to detain visiting players due to coronavirus regulations.
Having ended their 28-year wait for silverware via July's Copa America, Messi's Argentina will now look to conquer the World Cup.
Two-time champions Argentina – eliminated in the round of 16 at Russia 2018 – has not won the World Cup since Diego Maradona inspired the country to 1986 glory, though they reached the final in 2014.