England replacement Denny Solomona scored a 78th-minute try to beat Argentina 38-34 in San Juan on Saturday.
The visitors were without 15 first-choice players on British & Irish Lions duty, but were still good enough to beat a strong Pumas side.
Argentina looked to have secured victory when Juan Martín Hernández slotted a 77th-minute drop goal, but England regained possession from the restart, with Solomona racing away for the match-winning try.
A sensational five-pointer, finished off by Joaquín Tuculet, had given Argentina a 31-23 lead with 25 minutes to go. But Owen Farrell kicked a penalty and George Ford then scored a self-converted try to level the scores on the 65-minute mark and set up a thrilling finish.
Both teams ended up scoring four tries, with Ford's boot proving to be the difference.
The Pumas had opened the scoring in this match with a try from Emiliano Boffelli, who chased down Nicolás Sánchez's grubber. Ford then kicked two penalties before Marland Yarde's try gave England a 13-7 lead.
However, Argentina hit back through Tomás Lavanini, who powered over from close range. Sánchez kicked the conversion and added a penalty to make it 17-13 at half-time.
England wing Jonny May scored the first try of the second half, but the Pumas responded with two of their own from Jerónimo de la Fuente and Tuculet.
The visitors, though, would finish with a flourish to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Argentina – Tries: Emiliano Boffelli, Tomás Lavanini, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Joaquín Tuculet. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez (4). Penalty: Sánchez. Drop goal: Juan Martín Hernández.
England – Tries: Marland Yarde, Jonny May, George Ford, Denny Solomona. Conversions: Ford (3). Penalties: Ford (4).
Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Lucas Noguera Paz.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Juan Martín Hernández, 23 Ramiro Moyano.
England – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Ellis Genge.
Subs: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Will Collier, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Don Armand, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona.
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images