Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Argentina vs Iceland (line ups, venue, time)

Argentina vs Iceland (line ups, venue, time)

Messi's fans say Ronaldo, at 33, is slowing down.

"I looked at a lot of penalties by Messi and I also watched penalties I have faced so I could see how I looked to penalty-takers".

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.

Iceland, playing in its first World Cup, fell behind in the 19th minute on a handsome goal by Sergio Aguero, his first at a Cup. Is this the year that La Albiceleste's superstar Lionel Messi finally takes the one and only major title missing in his list of professional football career fulfillment? The ref pointed to the spot and naturally Messi was decided amongst his teammates he was the worthy choice to play "God".

Argentina were awarded a penalty when Hordur Magnusson bundled over Aguero in the box, but the Messi's poor effort was saved by goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson. Iceland were content to play on the counter. Could this be yet another disappointing tourney for the world's greatest player or does Cristiano Ronaldo stake his claim?

And with so many similarities between the games, it's only natural that Messi's reaction was going to be compared and although it's far from angelic, it cuts quite the difference.

Messi had a final chance to redeem his team with the final kick of the game, but his free kick from 25 yards failed to clear a solid defensive wall. For Argentina, a missed opportunity. For a man who makes so much of the lovely game look so easy, penalties continue to haunt him.

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Whilst Jorge Sampaoli's side had the ball at their feet for 45 minutes of game time, for Iceland the figure was just 17 minutes. "Now hopefully, we can use that experience at the World Cup". Just four minutes later they were level, Alfred Finnbogason stabbing home after a goalmouth scramble. The penalty miss with the game there for the taking will haunt him but it shouldn't entirely come as a surprise, as he has scored only three of the last seven penalties he has taken for club and country.

The small Nordic island nation's team created several first-half chances despite having only 22 percent possession, and pushed back Argentina's waves of second-half attacks.

Iceland, with a population of 350,000, drew with Portugal and then stunned England when they knocked them out of the Euros two years ago to reach the quarter-finals, but this result against the two-time World Cup winners is right up there.

After recording a point against Argentina, Iceland are back in action versus Nigeria on Friday before taking on Croatia the following Tuesday.

11 - Lionel Messi had 11 shots v Iceland, the highest tally without scoring in a World cup match for an Argentinian player since Opta keep full World Cup data (1966).

Ronaldo's name was raised in Iceland's postgame news conference. They defended in their numbers and made it very hard for Argentina. Croatia face Nigeria in the late fixture tonight. On their World Cup debut, they frustrated Messi and Argentina - who took the lead, had a whopping 72% possession, and 9 shots on target out of 26 attempts.

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