Latest News

#WC2018: Messi misses penalty as Iceland hold Argentina for famous draw

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Argentina were held to a draw by World Cup debutants Iceland Saturday, with Lionel Messi blowing a gilt-edged opportunity for victory when he missed a penalty.

Sergio Aguero scored an eye-catching opener for the two-time world champions in the 19th minute but it was almost immediately cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason, whose team then held on in the face of immense pressure.

It was a major embarrassment for Argentina and raises questions about their ability to claim football's biggest prize for the first time since 1986.

As Diego Maradona looked on at Moscow's Spartak stadium, Messi also failed to respond to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick for Portugal against Spain a day earlier.

Messi is yet to win a major international tournament and time is running out with his 31st birthday looming.

While the result was not on the scale of that Iceland produced to eliminate England from Euro 2016, it was a major boost for the tiny nation, who retain hopes of advancing from a group that also includes Nigeria and Croatia.

The island nation of 330,000 is the smallest country to ever qualify for the finals but emphatically showed they can mix it with the heavyweights.

In front of a raucous crowd at the 45,000-capacity venue, Iceland launched into some early physical challenges and rattled Argentina.

They hit on the counter and gave Argentina a scare when Bjorn Sigurdarson pounced on a loose ball only to rifle his shot just wide of the post.

Aguero settled Argentine nerves in the 19th minute when he latched onto Marcos Rojo's pass in the box, turned and hammered home with his left foot.

True to form, Iceland fought back and Finnbogason netted the equaliser four minutes later, pouncing when Argentine keeper Wilfredo Caballero parried away Gylfi Sigurdsson's shot for a classic poacher's goal.

Argentina continued to press but Messi was subdued in the face of muscular Icelandic defence and the teams went into the break on even terms.

Messi looked furious as he led his team out for the second half but the Argentines still struggled to dominate.

They appeared to have secured a breakthrough when Polish referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot afterHordur Magnusson brought Maximiliano Meza down in the 63rd minute.

Messi stepped up for the kick but Hannes Halldorsson guessed correctly and palmed away the Argentine skipper's side-footed effort.

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.

Argentina must regroup before facing Croatia on Nizhny Novgorod on June 21, while Iceland face Nigeria in Volgograd on June 22.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT