2018 World Cup match report Argentina v Iceland 16 June 2018
Posted: 16 June 2018 Time: 13:25
Iceland pulled another rabbit out of the bag as they kept Argentina at bay for a 1-1 draw in their maiden World Cup clash in Group D.
Finalists four years ago, the Albiceleste put out an all-out attack that contained Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero.
Still fondly remembered for their upset on England at the European Championship two years ago, Iceland as expected started with lots of bodies behind the ball.
Argentina made the early signs and a free-kick by Messi was flicked on by Nicolas Tagliafico as it sailed across goal.
Iceland got the best chance of the opening 10 minutes when poor defensive work by the opponents provided Birkir Bjarnsson a chance on a silver platter to score, but he failed to profit firing wide instead.
As frustration began to grow for Argentina, it was Messi who decided to improvise with a stunning shot from outside the box that forced Hannes Halldorsson to a stern punch away to safety.
They were finally up and running and it came through Aguero who turned inside the box to blast in a rocket of a shot that gave Halldorsson no chance on 19 minutes.
For a moment, it appeared to be the beginning of an onslaught as Messi took a shot on the rebound metres from the box but Halldorsson was there to pull off an acrobatic save.
Iceland though showed why they should never be left unsighted, as Alfred Finnbogason capitalised on poor defending to score the equaliser from close range on 23 minutes.
Argentina were appealing for a penalty with the Polish referee insisting he had seen the ball making contact with the hand following Eduardo Salvio’s cross thus awarded no spot kick.
Iceland became stronger as the first half drew to a close and Gylfi Sigurdsson found a sniff at the side of goal, but Willy Caballero made a timeous stop just before halftime.
Argentina made the first change earlier in the second half as Ever Banega replaced Lucas Biglia. This stepped up their pursuit for victory.
The chance to go ahead came after Hordur Magnusson brought down Aguero to concede a penalty. Messi stepped forward and was denied by a stunning block from Halldorsson after 61 minutes.
Chasing the points, Jorge Sampoali threw all including the kitchen sink in the mix as veteran forward Gonzalo Higuain made his foray eight minutes to go.
Whatever they seemed to throw, Halldorsson was at arms length to prevent them as a curling shot from Lucas Pavon was tipped away as the clash ended 1-1 on the day.
Argentina: Caballero; Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Biglia, Mascherano; Meza, Messi, Di María; Aguero.
Iceland: Iceland: Halldórsson; Árnason, Saevarsson, R.Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson; Bjarnason, Finnbogason, G.Sigurdsson.