Ex- film director Iceland goalkeeper explains how he saved Messi's penalty

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Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson makes a save after penalty shot of Argentina's Lionel Messi, left, during the group D match between Argentina and Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, June 16, 2018.

In what could be considered the World Cup's first upset, Iceland have held Argentina to a 1-1 draw in the first Group D of World Cup 2018.

"In the Argentina against Iceland game we saw just how much Messi needed the warm-up game against Israel", Liberman tweeted after Messi missed the penalty.

"I did some homework".

"It's a dream come true for me to have saved that penalty, especially as it helped us gain a point that could be very important for us in trying to qualify from this group". OK, it's a long shot but it happened. Lionel Messi had a penalty kick saved as the South Americans surrendered a lead and only got a point out of the match.

"The penalty was painful, I feel responsible".

Yet they actually created few clear chances either side of the poorly-struck 64th-minute penalty by Messi, who drew a blank despite a remarkable 11 shots during the match. Iceland is the smallest country to reach a World Cup but there is nothing small about the character of this team or the support they get.

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Magnusson, who only had eyes for the ball, was ruled to have bundled Meza to the floor but Messi missed the chance to put the favourites back in front and Iceland held on for a deserved point.

Argentina, though, broke through within two minutes of that as Sergio Aguero scored his first-ever World Cup goal, getting away from a defender as the ball broke to him and lashing a shot high into the net. "They probably would open a little bit more and we could get more space".

"We were playing against one of the best teams in the world, against one of the best players in the world", said Halldorsson, who also stopped a unsafe Cristian Pavon curler near the end and was named man of the match.

He also dismissed Messi's miss as "a statistic" but the fact it was the Barca star's fourth missed penalty in seven attempts for club and country this season makes it a rather alarming statistic. Messi and his men found it very hard to break through a very tight Iceland defense. The first two caused Iceland all kinds of problems but if Messi is only causing danger from set pieces, you're doing a good job of shutting him out.

"This is just beginning and we knew it would not be easy", Messi added.

According to their coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, this is the biggest game in the history of Icelandic football. "So maybe that's also what keeps us on our toes, that we are always a bit anxious that we might get smacked".

While the result was not on the scale of that Iceland produced to eliminate England from Euro 2016, it was a major boost for the tiny nation, who retain hopes of advancing from a group that also includes Nigeria and Croatia.




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