Messi, Argentina flop in opener

Sunday, 17 Jun, 2018

"I didn't want to get lazy before the World Cup". However 2 years later he led his country to UEFA Euro 2016 where they reached the quarterfinals.

Messi's penalty howler comes just hours after his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a stunning hat-trick against Spain for Portugal.

Follow live updates from the game below beginning at game time.

Iceland's fans provided a raucous pre-match build-up in Moscow, singing "Eg er kommin heim" ("I have arrived") and finishing with their trademark Viking clap, and Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson took their first shot within 10 seconds.

Messi tried his luck from outside the area soon afterwards, his curling strike held by Halldorsson - but, out of the blue, Iceland were level after 23 minutes, Alfreo Finnbogason stabbing home amid defensive chaos. Meanwhile, Iceland are the most clinical team in the tournament as of now, as they have only had one shot on target. which they converted.

La Albiceleste have one of the most prolific attacking squad in this World Cup with star players such as Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero leading the attacking front.

That chance came in a nervous ninth minute for Argentina's defence, which seemed unsettled by Iceland's strength and their own unease with loose balls in the penalty area.

His free-kick in the final moments of the game was deflected off the Iceland wall and the Barcelona talisman trudged off the pitch dejected. It's a different calire of challenge for Iceland in this match though, with numerous players coming up against stars they would have only dreamed of playing a few years ago. In fact, they have won 12 of their last 15 group games at the World Cup (D2 L1), their only defeat in that run coming against England in 2002 (0-1).

Argentina settled, though, and ultimately took the lead in the 19th minute through Sergio Aguero who gathered Marcos Rojo's speculative shot decisively before turning and drilling it high into the net, exactly the sort of finish that has generally been lacking from Aguero for his national team, and a huge source of encouragement for Jorge Sampaoli.

Halldorsson; R. Sigurdsson, A. Skulason, Eyjolfsson, Arnason; Bjarnason, G. Sigurdsson, Hallfredsson, J. Gudmundsson; Sigurdarson, Finnbogason.

Argentina improved after the break, particularly after Sampaoli brought on Ever Banega to replace Lucas Biglia.

Iceland is the smallest country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation with a population of 300,000.

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor has even hinted he could retire from worldwide football after the tournament, saying last week that "it will depend on how far we go".

The match finished 1-1 after Messi's spot kick was saved. Iceland's goal arrived following an amateurish-looking sequence of so-called defending.