A Rugby World Cup record crowd of 89,019 at Wembley saw New Zealand come from behind to beat their Pool C opponents Argentina by 26 points to 16.
Sam Cane and Aaron Smith scored second-half tries for the All Blacks, who were down to 13 men at one point in the first half on the back of two yellow cards.
For Argentina, a Guido Petti five-pointer on the 20th minute mark gave them the impetus they needed to force a shock result, yet their defence just could not hold on as the All Blacks came strong late on.
Carter boot keeps Kiwis in touch
The All Blacks really did come to play early, and the pressure paid off when the opposition flanker Pablo Matera was given a yellow card for an early indiscretion.
Dan Carter's four penalties were all the Kiwis had to show for their first-half efforts, who had Conrad Smith and Richie McCaw each sent to the sin-bin at the end of the first-half.
It was the Pumas though who took the half-time lead, after a sterling effort once they had fallen 9-0 down.
Petti crashed over from a yard out to get Argentina on the board, which was converted by Nicolas Sanchez to reduce the deficit to two.
Sanchez then added two more penalties to end the half on the back of the two yellow-cards to New Zealand stalwarts McCaw and C.Smith.
All Blacks dominate after the break
Coming out a point down, the All Blacks knew their unbeaten World Cup group stage record was under serious threat.
The introduction of Sonny Bill Williams changed the course of the game, with the former league star a real thorn in Argentina's side.
His offloads were integral in many of the Kiwi breaks, which led to tries for A.Smith and fellow substitute Cane, with the latter all but ending the contest.