tiptrot.com July 18, 2018

Birkir Bjarnason and Hordur Magnusson hold Lionel Messi and Argentina

18 June 2018, 01:34 | Mandy Simon

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If there is one flaw in Lionel Messi's genius, it might be his failure to score penalty kicks in big games.

In the second half, Ever Banega soon replaced Lucas Biglia, and Argentina started to exert more pressure on their resolute opponents, and Messi needed to come deep for the ball less often than he had in the first 45, and his involvement was nearly decisive right away.

But the Barcelona ace's lackluster record on penalties continued, as he stepped up and fired a weak shot at the flawless height and velocity to gift Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson an easy save.

Goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson was a zombie movie director before he started playing football for Iceland.

He went equally nuts when Finnbogason's equalizer went in.

"For me, as a goalkeeper from little Iceland and at the first game at a World Cup, to face the best player in the world at a penalty is", - he gave a long pause - "a big moment".

After becoming the surprise package at UEFA Euro 2016, Iceland followed up their success by becoming the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup.

The South American side got off to a good start with Sergio Aguero's stunning left-foot strike giving them the lead in the 19th minute.

Despite Argentina's dominance, Iceland held on valiantly to not concede. Alfred Finnbogason, who scored Iceland's lone goal, noted that the team has moved from a traditional 4-4-2 lineup to having five midfielders, which bolsters their marauding ranks on the counterattack.

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"I did a lot of homework", Iceland 'keeper Halldorsson said after stoning Messi's second-half attempt.

Lionel Messi has claimed that Argentina were superior to Iceland in their World Cup opener and deserved to get more out of the Group D encounter than a 1-1 draw.

The Barcelona man looked furious as he led his team out for the second half but the Argentines still struggled to make the most of their territorial domination.

"I get the feeling there's an anger at the heart of the team", he said. It was Aguero's alertness, seizing on a mishit Marcos Rojo shot, pivoting and lashing a shot past Halldorsson, that brought the first goal. Finnbogasson has inked his name in the history books as he secured Iceland's first world cup goal.

However, against the run of play in the 23rd minute, Iceland pushed forward through Birkir Bjarnason and Aron Gunnarsson.

A draw does Argentina no favours with Nigeria and Croatia - two harder opponents on paper than Iceland - to come.

Argentina fans booed and whistled when the giant stadium screen showed that Halldorsson was man of the match.

"Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win".

'We knew from the Euros how important it is to on the board right away if you're going to reach the goal of qualifying.

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