Argentina 1-1 Iceland: Five things we learned

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With the five-times world player of the year stepping up to restore Argentina's lead in the Group D opener, tiny Iceland's first ever appearance at the World Cup finals, Halldorsson admitted that he felt the pressure.

Iceland continued its miraculous run of worldwide football on Saturday, holding on for a 1-1 draw against Argentina its first match at the 2018 World Cup.

For the record, Icelandic heroic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson didn't turn professional until the age of 29, having carved himself a successful career as a filmmaker and director beforehand - though his previous employers have promised he can have his job back once he's finished with football. The Iceland goalkeeper dived to his right and got two hands behind the ball. Leo Messi missed a penalty in a chance that could sealed victory for Argentina.


It was the type of finish Manchester City fans have seen many, many times and reminded everyone inside the Spartak Stadium how silly it is to regard Argentina as a one-man team.

Yet debutant Iceland refused to melt on the main stage, Alfred Finnbogason capitalising on Willy Caballero's weak punch to score his country's maiden goal in the history of the tournament just four minutes later.

Despite Argentina's dominance, Iceland held on valiantly to not concede. But on 62 minutes Messi found himself in space on the left and spotted Maximiliano Meza charging into the area.

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Frustrated by an organized and disciplined opponent, Ronaldo sneered at Iceland's post-game celebrating by a team "not going to do anything in the competition".

That was until the 64 minute, when luck seemingly fell in Argentina's favour as they were awarded a penalty following a clumsy challenge. Iceland drew level after a goal from Nani. The forward executed a classy spin move to create his chance when a miscued shot by Marcos Rojo arrived at his feet near the penalty spot. The FIFA ambassador was puffing a large cigar despite smoking being banned in all World Cup venues.

As the end approached, Halldorsson capped a man-of-the-match display with a smart stop from a Cristian Pavon cross that was headed for the far corner. But his faultless handling and excellent shot- stopping was deserving of the accolade.

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It was a massive moment in the game and a blow for Messi, particularly after his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo's set-piece sorcery for Portugal against Spain on Friday.

Captain Messi missed a penalty in 1-1 draw in his 125th global against an Iceland side making their tournament debut as the smallest nation ever to reach the finals.

Sigurdsson had a low shot saved by Caballero as an entertaining first half came towards a conclusion, and the same player blasted a half-volley well wide. Messi had been unusually poor in this game up until this with Iceland doing a good job of keeping him quiet.

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However, Fabregas was keen to note: "We [Spain] won the World Cup and lost the first game to Switzerland, so anything can happen". I think that his skills and the professional way he plays mean that he will be the one who decides until when he wants to play.

"We know Iceland's main man, their captain (Aron Gunnarsson), is recovering from injury but they play well as a group and I'm sure it's going to be very tough against them".