Argentina vs Iceland,1-1 Draw, Highlights, Watch All Goals Online

Sunday, 17 Jun, 2018

Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson became the man of the moment in an important fixture between Argentina and world cup debutants Iceland as he stopped Lionel Messi's penalty in the 63 minute to settle the match in a draw.

Iceland, by far the smallest country by population to appear at the World Cup, famously beat England in the round of 16 of Euro 2016 and again inspired by their "thunderclapping" fans ran tirelessly and fought for everything to write another glowing chapter in their short but glorious major tournament story.

Like the FC Barcelona's superstar, who was not born yet the last time Argentina secured the World Cup championship title, the door may be also closing for other star players like Neymar, who will try to lead the Brazil team to its sixth World Cup title? Messi placed his shot to the right of Hannes Halldorsson, but the Iceland goalkeeper dived and got two hands behind the ball. 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. This was Messi's opportunity to get his World Cup off to the flawless start.

But they only qualified for Russian Federation thanks to a win in their final qualifier against Ecuador and scored 19 goals in 18 games, the lowest by any South American qualifier since the single-group format was adopted in the mid-1990s. That was an incredible performance in a group which included Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland and Kosovo.

Yussuf Poulsen scored in the 59th minute to give Denmark all the scoring it needed in a 1-0 victory over Peru in both team's World Cup opener.

And Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said: "We need to find more variety of options going forward". In the second half we made them feel uncomfortable but they did have many people playing defensively.

Argentina return to action on Thursday night against Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod.

Iceland's strategy of long-range counterattacks and pressuring the Argentines' shaky backline seems to be working. "There are some things you hope or wish for, and saving a penalty from Messi in the first game is definitely one of them", Halldorsson said.

Iceland were a real threat when they had a chance to go forward with long balls and Gylfi Sigurdsson had two opportunities in the closing minutes of the half to grab the lead for the Islanders but it ended 1-1 at the halftime break.

Birkir Bjarnason missed a gilt-edged chance when he side-footed wide after nine minutes, and it came as no surprise when Iceland equalised.

Ronaldo noted: "It was a little bit frustrating, we tried hard to win the game, Iceland didn't try anything".

"If someone is surprised (by that) then, they don't know much about Iceland football".