Iceland hold Argentina to 1-1 draw as Messi misses penalty

Iceland hold Argentina to 1-1 draw as Messi misses penalty

"We'll play a good game against Argentina".

World Cup debutants Iceland - the smallest nation ever to appear at the tournament - equalized just four minutes later, while Lionel Messi blew the chance to restore Argentina's lead when he missed a second-half penalty.

Argentina were too ponderous in midfield and lacked creativity, coach Jorge Sampaoli said in a blunt assessment of their failure to beat Iceland in their opening World Cup match on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero scored an eye-catching opener for the two-time world champions in the 19th minute but it was nearly immediately cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason, whose team then held on in the face of huge pressure.

"I think the Argentinians felt a bit frustrated that they weren't getting through and it was important we equalised so quickly".

Penalties - missed and converted - and interventions by the Video Assistant Referee provided some of the main storylines on day three in Russian Federation. "They probably would open a little bit more and we could get more space". This was the start of a stretch of three straight World Cup matches with a goal for Messi that was continued in a 1-0 victory over Iran in which he scored the lone goal in the first minute of stoppage time in the second half. For that tournament, about 15 percent of the population traveled to watch the team and Iceland's players recognised many faces in the crowd.

Argentina play Croatia in their next game in Saint Petersburg on June 21.

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Argentina and Croatia meet Thursday in World Cup soccer action at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

"We all are sure that there will not be any problems for the Nigerian players because the atmosphere we felt already arriving in Russian Federation was very good", he said.

Ronaldo criticized Iceland the same way after Portugal's 1-1 draw in Iceland's Euro 2016 debut.

Iceland signaled their intent from the kick off, sending seven men charging into the box to challenge as the ball was pumped long, leading to just the first of several uncomfortable moments for a decidedly shaky Argentine defense.

"We can't afford to get stage fright", he said ahead of the Group C tie against the Socceroos.

With this back story, Iceland will once again be most neutrals' favourites.

"We didn't deserve to lose, but we can't cry over spilt milk".

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