World Cup match report Argentina v Iceland 16 June 2018

Danny Woods
June 17, 2018

But Argentina fans should absolutely be concerned that Messi isn't just in Ronaldo's shadow at this tournament.

Lionel Messi called for calm and said there is no need for Argentina to go "crazy", despite failing to beat Iceland at the World Cup, partly thanks to his "painful" penalty miss.

The Argentines took the lead in the 19th minute when Sergio Aguero scored with a rising left-footed shot. A day later, Lionel Messi had the chance to do the same for Argentina, but things didn't quite work out so well for Messi. The ref pointed to the spot and naturally Messi was decided amongst his teammates he was the worthy choice to play "God".

Messi's chance came and went after 63 minutes when keeper Hannes Halldorsson guessed right to parry the spot-kick and earn a hard-fought point.

Iceland's Ari Skulason celebrates with a woman afterwards. Could this be yet another disappointing tourney for the world's greatest player or does Cristiano Ronaldo stake his claim?

And finally, arguably the two best players in the world, Messi and Ronaldo will always play their personal battle even if the two players aren't really competing.

Nine minutes from the end, Messi curled a superb strike narrowly wide from the edge of the D, and Argentina threw Gonzalo Higuain into the fray as they pressed for a late victor. Icelandic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson still referred to Messi as "the best player in the world" post-game.

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While Argentina controlled the ball for large stretches, they held steady at the back, and with 20 minutes remaining the situation was summed up when Banega curled a hopeful, rather than risky, shot towards the 'keeper from outside the box. This was Messi's opportunity to get his World Cup off to the ideal start. Finnbogasson has inked his name in the history books as he secured Iceland's first world cup goal.

There were brief moments of quality but Iceland's resilience limited Messi to long range efforts, never getting close enough to inflict the damage we all know he can.

By the second half, Messi pushed further forward, presumably with the aim of getting him in more risky areas, but if anything, that made Argentina more predictable.

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.

"Messi misses a penalty and somehow, somewhere, I think Ronaldo may be winking", tweeted former Barcelona and England forward Gary Lineker. Croatia and Nigeria are bound to pose challenges of their own. Leo is very committed to Argentina.

Their remaining group games - against Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria five days later - will come against opponents more inclined to try to carry the play and perhaps leave more gaps in their respective defences. Playing in their first ever World Cup, the side that captured hearts with their giant killings and viking clapping at Euro 2016 came into the clash looking to make an impression on the world's grandest stage.

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