Argentina 1-1 Iceland: Messi misses penalty to hand Iceland a point on debut

first_imgWith Diego Maradona in the stands and Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick the day before looming over him, all eyes were on Messi, including those of the three Icelandic defenders who followed him wherever he went and offered no space to exert his influence.He finally got his chance on 64 minutes when Bristol City’s Hordur Magnusson bundled Meza over in the box, but Hannes Halldorsson’s spectacular save from the spot kept the scores level.In the dying minutes Halldorsson was at his best again, flying to his left to keep out substitute Cristian Pavon’s goalbound effort as Iceland followed up their Euro 2016 antics with yet another upset.STAR MANHannes Halldorsson marked his 50th cap for his country with the biggest performance of his career, denying Messi from 12 yards and Pavon from 20 as he backed up the phenomenal work of his defenders with two huge saves in the second half. As the constant harrying and hounding weakened the brick wall put up by 10 outfielders, Halldorsson was called upon to keep his country level, and he did not disappoint.MOMENT OF THE MATCH 4 Manchester City’s Aguero opened the scoring with his 38th international goal, and first at a World Cup For all the efforts of their backline, which appeared to be eight-strong at times, all Iceland’s hard work could have been undone just after the hour mark after Magnusson’s clumsy challenge. Messi, who has now missed four of his last seven penalties for club and country, never looked confident, and keeper Halldorsson’s save ensured that a nation with the population of Croydon did not end their first World Cup game with defeat.GROUP D TABLE 4 Iceland stunned Argentina in Moscow as Lionel Messi’s second-half penalty miss saw the smallest nation in World Cup history secure a draw against the two-time world champions.Alfred Finnbogason’s equaliser cancelled out a Sergio Aguero strike as England’s Euro 2016 conquerors produced a heroic defensive display against the star-studded Argentine attack.center_img Finnbogason ensured Iceland were not behind for long 4 It was Aguero, goalless in all eight previous World Cup appearances, who set the scoring going, lashing in on the turn with his left foot on 19 minutes after Marcos Rojo’s scuffed shot fell to him in the box.Undeterred, the debutants equalised just four minutes later, Finnbogason tapping in their own first ever World Cup goal after Willy Caballero palmed Gylfi Sigurdsson’s low drive right into his path.Argentina were adamant they should have been awarded a penalty at the end of the first half when Maximiliano Meza’s cross deflected up onto Ragnar Sigurdsson’s arm, but both referee and VAR deemed the contact unintentional. 4last_img

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