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Argentina Vs Iceland 16 June 2018
18 June 2018, 01:38 | Ivan Casey
Lionel Messi-led Argentina open their World Cup 2018 campaign against Iceland
Substitute Cristian Pavon almost scored the victor for Argentina four minutes from time but his curling effort was saved by Halldorsson.
Iceland's dream World Cup debut may have gotten them a point against two-time champions Argentina, but Aron Gunnarsson and his team mates are already putting that result behind them as they move on to the challenge of Nigeria.
But the Barcelona ace's lackluster record on penalties continued, as he stepped up and fired a weak shot at the ideal height and velocity to gift Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson an easy save. The Icelandic goalkeeper was not to be troubled again until the 19th minute.
He went equally nuts when Finnbogason's equalizer went in.
He ripped off his captain's armband at full-time and offered little more than a blank stare as Iceland's players acknowledged his presence. That gives us all a few days to replace the blown-out speakers on our laptops.
FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi missed a second-half penalty as Argentina failed to secure three points in their opening 2018 World Cup clash.
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Against a team like Argentina, it's just a fact: They have better players.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli dismissed his star player's penalty set-back as a "statistic" and praised his attitude in a hard game. After a couple of overhit crosses from Iceland weren't dealt with properly, a rebound fell kindly to Alfred Finnbogason who made no mistake and drew Iceland level.
Speaking about his save after the match, he said that he did his homework and it paid off for him.
Messi will still be key to their fortunes, though, and while virtually all of Argentina's positive play-aside from the goal-came through him, he can't afford to be missing penalties.
With the lead disappearing in a hurry, Argentina set about trying to find a second goal against a determined opponent.
"I had a good feeling he would go that way today".
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Even that goal might not have counted in the days before technology was brought into the game with Pogba's shot looping off the shin of Aziz Behich, hitting the crossbar and bouncing down inside the goal before coming back out.
Argentina's opener arrived after a glaring miss at the other end, the late-arriving Birkir Bjarnason carelessly pushing a side-footed effort wide of the target when the ball had broken kindly into his path.
"We have a clear identity and everybody is on board how we should play", Iceland coach Heimer Hallgrimsson said.
Great reactions from Halldorsson to pam away a low, whipped across from Pavon which was sneaking into the far post.
"This is just beginning and we knew it would not be easy", Messi added.
The road to the World Cup provided Iceland with a challenging route as they had to take on the likes of fellow Group D rivals Croatia, as well as Ukraine and Turkey, but Hallgrimsson's charges eventually made it over the line by finishing top of the group by two points.
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