Lionel Messi slams Iceland after Argentina draw opening match

Lionel Messi slams Iceland after Argentina draw opening match

Darren Sullivan
June 18, 2018

It was also Aguero's maiden strike at the tournament, but Argentina could not claim all three points, Messi seeing a second-half penalty saved by Hannes Thor Halldorsson.

"I did my homework". Icelandic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson still referred to Messi as "the best player in the world" post-game.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's charges did not take long to respond as Alfred Finnbogason made it 1-1 barely five minutes later with a low shot inside the box after Argentina failed to clear their lines.

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

"I had a good feeling it would go this way today", he said of his dive to his right to stop Messi's uninspired effort.

Confident though they are, the Icelanders don't need to be reminded that they are from the smallest country every to qualify for the World Cup. While for Iceland it's that for creating history by stopping the superpower - Argentina, for the latter it's nothing but a missed opportunity to rise and shine.

Nonetheless, it was Iceland who had the game's first good chance, Birkir Bjarnason missing the target from a good position after Willy Cavallero and Marcos Rojo combined to give the ball away from an Argentina goal kick.

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He ripped off his captain's armband at full-time and offered little more than a blank stare as Iceland's players acknowledged his presence.

And Halldorsson revealed the secret of thwarting Messi from the spot was hours spent watching clips of the Barcelona superstar;s penalties ahead of the game. In the final minute, Ronaldo had whipped in a free kick to equalize for Portugal against Spain; Messi, presented with a similar set play, his third of the game, scuffed his shot into the wall.

Tweeple too are having blast and celebrating the results of the Viking Clap but at the expense of Argentina and Messi. Playing two defensive midfielders in Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano smacks of a safety-first approach, which does not play to Messi's strength.

Manchester City's Aguero missed the end of the Premier League season with a knee injury, but Sampaoli deemed him fit enough to start over Higuain, who critics say is yet to produce his best for the national team. To start with winning is always important, now we have to think about Croatia.

In Group D, it's Croatia in first with three points, followed by Argentina and Iceland with a point, while Nigeria has zero.

But all week Iceland have been telling people their Euro 2016 win over England was not a miracle, their group-topping qualification was not a shock.

The keeper also produced a late save to keep out an attempt from substitute Cristian Pavon as Iceland - who also drew 1-1 with eventual victor Portugal in its Euro 2016 opener - held on to clinch another famous result in their footballing history.