Shock as Iceland score to level against Argentina

World Cup 2018: How to Watch Argentina vs Iceland

Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson revealed on Saturday (Jun 16) how he worked on psyching out Argentine superstar Lionel Messi to make a penalty save that sealed a 1-1 draw with the footballing superpower.

Iceland earned a well-fought, well-deserved point.

The miss was met with another surge of Argentinian pressure, but they struggled to break down their opponents, who were increasingly happy to play for the draw.

Messi had a final chance to redeem his team with the final kick of the game, but his free kick from 25 yards failed to clear a solid defensive wall.

Sergio Aguero opened the scoring with a superb strike, netting his first World Cup goal, but Alfred Finnbogason made history for Iceland with his equalizer.

Nine minutes from the end, Messi curled a superb strike narrowly wide from the edge of the D, and Argentina threw Gonzalo Higuain into the fray as they pressed for a late victor.

The World Cup rookies from the tournament's smallest nation are suddenly legitimate contenders for the knockout stage.

The 30-year-old Barcelona star's second-half spot-kick was easily stopped by opposition keeper Hannes Halldorsson with the score at 1-1.




The South Americans are outright favourites to dominate the group along with probably Croatia, notwithstanding the dangers of Nigeria.

Argentina's lack of creativity often required Messi to drop deep in order to act as the side's playmaker, but if Aguero and their other forward players can be as clinical as they are for their club teams, that could be a viable strategy.

"That's just another statistic, it's part of the past", Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said of Messi's latest miscue. "They were defending, their only chances to score were from a set piece or looking for the second play".

"We know Iceland's main man, their captain (Aron Gunnarsson), is recovering from injury but they play well as a group and I'm sure it's going to be very tough against them".

They may not be cocky, but after passing one of their first competitive tests against a top-ranked side from outside Europe, the Icelanders aren't short on confidence, either.

Iceland's Olafur Skulason applauds to the fans when warming up prior to the group D match between Argentina and Iceland. Birkir Bjarnason pushed wide his near post effort. There were too many attempts to pass the ball through the eye of not just one needle but several at the edge of the box, even after Ever Banega had come on for Lucas Biglia and the shape had become more like the 2-3-3-2 Sampaoli had promised.

"We do not have to go insane, we deserved to win, but we have to improve a lot, now we have to be calm".

"I looked at a lot of penalties by Messi and I also looked at how I had been behaving in the last penalties".

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