Lionel Messi misses penalty as Iceland earn point
Iceland have come from behind to earn a superb point against Argentina in their first ever World Cup match.
Sergio Aguero’s opener was cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason just five minutes later and Lionel Messi failed to convert a penalty in the second half as Iceland held on.
Argentina came close in the opening 10 minutes when Messi’s free-kick narrowly missed the head of Nicolas Otamendi and Nicolas Tagliafico headed wide of goal.
Iceland should have gone ahead a minute later though when Birkir Bjarnason found space in the penalty area but the Aston Villa midfielder’s shot went wide.
Messi then ghosted through the Iceland defence before rifling a shot at goal but Halldorsson was equal to it to punch the ball away.
Iceland did succumb to heavy Argentina pressure in the 19th minute though when Marcos Rojo found Sergio Aguero in the box to strike into the roof of the net for his first career World Cup goal.
They were not ahead for long though. Hordor Magnusson’s mishit shot deceived the Argentina defence and, after the ball pinging around the six-yard box, it eventually fell to Finnbogason who swept home from seven yards.
Lucas Biglia came close on the half-hour mark after good build-up play by Messi and Aguero but the midfielder’s strike went narrowly over.
Argentina had two penalty appeals turned down towards the end of the half. First, Ragnar Sigurdsson’s lunge took down Biglia but the referee waved play on before a cross hit the arm of the same player from close range. After a video review for the possible handball, nothing was given.
Iceland could have led themselves before halftime. This time, Finnbogason found Gylfi Sigurdsson but his shot was well saved by Willy Caballero.
Messi had a huge chance to win the game in the 64th minute when Magnusson gave away a penalty but he got it all wrong and Hannes Halldorsson batted the ball away.
Substitute Cristian Pavon thought that he should have won another penalty with 12 minutes remaining when he went down in the left side of the area but the referee waved play on. Replays showed that there was contact but, this time, VAR went unused.
Messi had a few more chances to win it in the final 10 minutes. First, he curled a 25-yarder narrowly wide fo the left post before setting up Pavon who forced a superb save from Halldorsson with a looping shot from the left.
A free-kick came in the 95th minute when Aron Gunnarsson brought down Messi, but the Barcelona superstar could only fire the ball into the wall.