The Black Sox will face arch-rivals Australia in the Softball World Championship quarter-finals after losing their final pool match in the Czech Republic on Friday (NZ time).
For the second time this tournament New Zealand blew a lead, this time against Argentina, which saw them finish third in their pool with a four-win, three-loss record.
After leading 4-1 early in the match, the Black Sox went onto lose 6-4 in Prague, Argentina's veteran catcher Bruno Motroni hitting a three-run homer in the final inning to secure victory.
The defeat consigned the Black Sox to third place in their pool, behind unbeaten Japan and Argentina.
Now the Black Sox must beat Australia in a repeat of the 2017 final on Saturday if they want to keep their hopes of winning an eighth world title alive.
The trans-Tasman clash starts at 2:30am.