Lionel Messi (Getty Images)
The Group D defeat means Argentina have just one point from two games, meaning they will probably have to beat Nigeria in their last game and hope other results go their way to avoid elimination.
The result left Argentinian fans in tears inside the Nizhny Novgorod stadium, while Diego Maradona watched from the stands in stunned disbelief.
"I've never seen a performance like this by Argentina," Zabaleta said. Never before. There was a lack of spirit and it's very strange to see."
Zabaleta also had harsh words for head coach Jorge Sampaoli who made four changes to his side before the clash and substituted Sergio Aguero with his side needing a goal.
"It's really disappointing. Argentina were so poor. I wasn't expecting that and it's going to be very tough to get through. I can't believe he took Aguero off, play with two strikers, we needed more people in the box."