Messi misses penalty as Iceland hold Argentina to draw

17 June, 2018, 10:46 | Author: Irvin Gilbert
  • Sigurdsson battles with Ghana's Nana Ampomah and Raphael Dwamena

VAR also resulted in a penalty for Peru against Denmark but Christian Cueva blazed over, missing the chance to register La Blanquirroja's first World Cup goal since 1982 and the South Americans were punished for that miss when Yussuf Poulsen struck the only goal of the game early in the second-half.

But the most memorable moment of the game came in the second half. They absolutely relish defending and twice stymieing the best players in the world. The goalkeeping of Hannes Thor Halldorsson proved huge throughout, with his penalty save from Messi the best of a series of impressive stops.

"I hope that the Croatia game can be better". Willy Caballero and his defenders were far too calm on the ball and Iceland's pressure saw them steal possession and have the numbers on their more prestigious opponents. In a performance that was exactly the similar to the draw against Portugal two years ago, Iceland showed they are present at the World Cup not just to make up the numbers.

The Argentina skipper has now missed four of the last seven penalties that he has taken for club and country combined. "We came very much motivated, and we really came to win against a team that had a very strong defensive structure".

Although there was no missed penalty, Portugal could only muster a 1-1 draw and Ronaldo failed to score from 10 shots on goal.

But what makes Iceland hard to beat isn't just its tactical schemes, it's that the Nordic nation has the ability to stay locked in and mistake-free for entire games. The ball eventually fell to Birkir Bjarnason, only for him to put his shot wide with goal gaping.

If, 18 hours apart, Messi and Ronaldo produced chalk-and-cheese performances, exactly two years and two days apart, Iceland came up with two of the most determined defensive displays you are ever likely to witness at the worldwide arena.

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In a game when Javier Mascherano became the most-capped Argentine in history in 144th appearance, it became clear that guile, not experience, is what Argentina continue to lack in global football. Argentina want to win against everyone.

This was the first game in Group D, which looks even more evenly balanced now than it did at kickoff.

Aguero shot straight at Magnusson before, with 15 minutes to go, Argentina brought off Di Maria and replaced him with Cristian Pavon and Iceland switched Gunnarsson for Ari Freyr Skulason. And with the group favourite out of the way, they can turn their attention to beating Nigeria or Croatia for a chance to reach the round of 16.

"Meza is the person we have been looking for, he's very versatile and allows us to recover balls".

"Are you Cristiano Ronaldo's uncle?" "I think this offensive creativity can give Argentina opportunities to move on to the next stage".

Hallgrimsson added: "We knew how the game would be played, they would have possession 60-70 per cent of the time and we played our defence brilliantly, the boys should take all the credit against world-class players". "That is going to be a celebration".

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