World Cup Opener: How Iceland Caged Argentina In Russia Today

Lionel Messi failed to convert a spot kick as 2018 World Cup debutantes, Iceland, created an upset by holding a star-studded Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their Group D opener on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero had put the South Americans in front with a powerful strike in the 19th minute, before Alfred Finnbogason leveled matters four minutes later.

Game on, it was, from that point.

And instead of being the hero, the Barcelona superstar was the villain as his second-half penalty was stopped by Hannes Halldorsson.

Messi, in one word, was devastated.

And it turned out to be a glorious afternoon for Iceland, who are the smallest nation ever to play in a World Cup finals, as they stood their grounds to secure a massive result against the two-time world champions.

As expected, the Argentina side had the lion share of possession, but the discipline, defensive tactics of Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side frustrated them.

Iceland, indeed, could not have asked for a better performance.

What Iceland coach told his players?

Coach of the debutants Heimir Hallgrimsson said they knew how the Argentinians would possible set up and had a game plan to deal with them.

“We played our defence brilliantly, we knew that they would have 60 or 70% possession and it is difficult to defend against that. But all credit for their hard work. There was nothing in their game that surprised us,” he said.

“We are bluntly honest about our ability, We know how we can win football matches. It is just a fact that Argentina have superior individuals with superor skills and if we go one-on-one with them you don’t need to ask who will win the game. We have to play in a special way and we have a clear identity.”
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