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Argentina vs Island 2018 World Cup final result and analysis

Island goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson saves punishment by Argentina's Lionel Messi. (AP Photo / Matthias Schrader)

MOSKVA – From the reaction of respective players, coaches and supporters at the end of Saturday's World Cup match at Spartak Stadium, you probably had come to the conclusion that Little Iceland had killed Lionel Messi and the giants from Argentina, behaved agitated for the ages and rocked the soccer field.

In fact, as Argentine chin dipped the Isles, a crazy share of the 337,000 residents traveling to Russia celebrated with the power and joy that a 1-1 result did not convey.

Forgive them, because what just evolved will take a special place in the country's history, and not just in the sports field: one point in their world cup debut against South American champion and the most talented player of all of them.

Not all moves are equal, and for Iceland, which implemented its tactics to perfection and promptly responded to an early deficit, the single point could not quantify what it meant.

People say, "Why celebrate a point as you won the game?", Says Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson. "But wait and see when we win a game. It will be a party. "

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For now, the islands will enjoy it they are richly deserved. And with the group's favorite out of the way, they can draw their attention to beat Nigeria or Croatia for a chance to reach the round 16.

Viking Clap has just begun.

There is a bigger tongue conflicts during these two weeks of group scrums: Spain-Portugal, Germany-Mexico and Belgium-England. But no-one offered contrasts as delicious as here in northwestern Moscow: big vs small elitists vs. outsiders, high style vs. blue body structure.

On the other hand, Hallgrimsson, a part-time dentist, was a cool profile, his arms crossed, in short pants and warm-up jacket emblazoned "Iceland", as the country name spelled in the mother tongue. His opponent, Jorge Sampaoli, showed he should ppa on the plane as a cheetah freed from captivity. With each empty possession, he paced and broke his arms in a constant state of tension.

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Argentines, who worked to solve the island's 11-player defensive puzzle in front of 44,190 singers. [19659013] Sergio Aguero had put them ahead in the 19th minute, angry and shooting from 14 meters to find the upper left side of the net. Most of the time, but Iceland limited space, moved in sync, boxed in Messi and rarely allow Argentina to accelerate the pace.

After Alfred Finnbogason rebuilt a close-up recovery in the 23rd minute, Iceland resumed its tough ways.

"There is some frustration right now," said Sampaoli. "We came very motivated and we really came to win against a team that had a very strong defensive structure. We tried to work better in the second half to create more opportunities, but what can you do?"

Well, Messi's customer have converted a penalty 64 minutes into the game. Instead, he left his attempt within reach of goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson for a momentum rescue.

"In the World Cup's first match, the best player in the world is in punishment, yes, a big moment," said Halldorsson. "It's a dream to remember to save it, especially because it helped us get a big point that I hope will prove is important to us."

Think of the players involved: Messi comes into football ads as one of the all-time greats (although he never wins a world title), while Halldorsson is a 34-year-old aspirant filmmaker with a middle class (he is currently playing Randers in Denmark.)

Messi, for all its greatness, is not sure of punishment. And Halldorsson was ready.

"I did some homework. I knew this was a situation that could come up," he said. "It's a long shot, but it happened. I watched a lot of punishment from Messi and I also looked at how I had acted during the last penalties so I tried to get into their minds and imagine what they would think of. I had a good feeling that he would go like this today. "

Criminal proceedings were in line with Messi's day. The island's humility allowed him only volatile moments of freedom. With his teammates who could not get him the ball, Messi often fell deep into the formation to take possession and launch attacks. In front of him, 11 Icelanders were on their way.

Sa Hallgrimsson: "We never gave them a runway to get somewhere."

On defensive tactics, he added: "If we go everywhere around the plan, you do not need to ask who will win that game. If we want to score or if we want to win against teams like Argentina, we must play a special way. For everyone, it's more fun to play this way and achieve nothing but play in a different way and not achieve anything. "

In the last 10 minutes Messi struck a shot on the left and with one pocket in space, drove a 20-year bid from a teammate in the penalty area.

And in the last touch of the match was presented with an opportunity for heroism, just as rival Cristiano Ronaldo had met for Portugal one day earlier, Messi broke a 28-yard free kick into the wall.

Ronaldo was named at Iceland's postgame press conference. Two years ago, after Iceland made its debut in the football match with a 1-1 route against Portugal, the superstar criticized the underdogs to celebrate as if they had won a trophy. He called it a "small mentality".

When asked about Iceland's celebration on Thursday, Halldorsson said to the author: "Are you Cristiano Ronaldo uncle? It's a big draw for us. We learned how important it is to board immediately if we are to reach our goal. "

– Steven Goff

In game updates

Full time

Argentina threatened for five minutes, as it did too much of the match, but La Albiceleste could not break Hannes Halldorsson. Island goalkeeper ended with six saves, including one at the penalty spot by Lionel Messi. It's a huge result for Iceland in its World Cup debut.

Islands exchange: Sigudarson for Finnbogason

Bjorn Sigudarson replaced Alfred Finnbogason, who spoke Iceland's only goal in the 89th minute.

Another rescue for Halldorsson

] Hannes Halldorsson himself has one day. Islands goalkeeper made his sixth save 87 minutes to maintain the 1-1 tie. It was a moment after he palmed a cross pass that seemed intended to lead to the forward-looking goal for Argentina.

Argentina Substitution: Higuain for Meza

Gonzalo Higuain came to Maximiliano Meza in the 84th minute as Argentina's final

Just wide

In 81 minutes, Lionel Messi found plenty of room for the box to bend a left foot shot just at the left post. Messi has nine shots in the match, but he is still looking for his first goal.

Substitution for both sides

Cristian Pavon was substituted by Angel Di Maria for Argentina in the 75th minute. Ari Freyr Skulason replaced Aron Gunnarsson for Iceland on the 76th.


Island goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson kept things 1-1 in the 64th minute by diving to a penalty kick by Lionel Messi. It was Messi's first career penalty park in the World Cup competition and Argentina's first in the tournament since 2002. As ESPN statistics and information notes Messi failed to convert five of his last 10 penalties in total.

Islands exchange: Gislason for Gudmundsson

Rurik Gislason replaced Johann Berg Gudmundsson in 63 minutes.

Quiet second half. . . so far

The first 15 minutes of the second half have been quite ceaseless. Lionel Messi waved himself through three Icelandic defenders to help create Argentina's eighth corner park, but La Albiceleste could not do anything about it. If Messi will follow up Cristiano Ronol's three-game game on Friday with his own hat trick, he will find the net soon. Island has kept him silent through 60 minutes in a 1-1 game.

Argentina Substitution: Banega for Biglia

Ever Banega replaced Lucas Biglia after 54 minutes.

Another first for Iceland

Iceland's first corner kick of the match came in 51 minutes and was eliminated by the injury of Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero.

Half-time update

The game is level despite Argentina dominating possession (80 percent) and exposing Iceland 11-8 in the first half. Island threatened to take the lead after 44 minutes, but Wilfredo Caballero made a shot from Gylfi Sigurdsson. Argentina was responsible for all six corner parks during the first 45 minutes.


Iceland scored the equalization less than four minutes after Argentina took a 1-0 lead with a goal by Alfred Finnbogason. Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero stopped Gylfi Sigurdsson's first shot, but the rebound found Finnbogason's right foot.


Argentina's Sergio Aguero opened the scoring with his first career championship goal in 19 minutes, a left footed blast in the top left corner of the net. Aguero's goal was set up by Javier Mascherano's long service in the box.

Messi make a bid

Hannes Halldorsson missed a long shot by Lionel Messi to keep the match on Saturday in the 17th minute. Argentina is dominant possession, but shots are even four.

Islands First Chance

A poor decision and a conversion of Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero led to a golden opportunity for Birkir Bjarnason, but Islands midfielder shot from point

A close miss for Argentina

In the eighth Lionel Messi sent a free kick into the box from the right, deflecting Nicolas Tagliafico's head and shot a shot

So special

Before attempting a free kick in the fourth minute, Lionel Messi asked the referee to replace the ball, as apparently was not inflated for the Argentina captain's taste. An Icelandic fan nearby shouted in protest during the short delay and Messi drilled the ball ball next to the net.

Starting lineups

Islands fans put "tordaklubben" to Moscow

About half an hour before the departure, Fox announces said they expected the stage at Spartak Stadium to resemble Reykjavik South, but that Argentina's hordes of fans in attendance made it feel more like Buenos Aires East. Even though the "Thunderclap" song was performed by Iceland's fans before Saturday's match, it was impressive.

Pregame tanks

Two-tier Argentina, who only tracks Brazil, Italy and Germany in World Cup matches, opens the group game against an Iceland squad making its World Cup debut. That should be fun. These numbers are Lionel Messi's last shot at the World Cup's honor after La Albiceleste ended as a runner in 2014. Will his teammates give any help? The island's bandwagon has continued to grow since the small islandering made a shocking leap to the quarterfinals at Euro 2016. Their fans viking clap is a sight and sound – to see.

– Scott Allen

Team Profiles

] Argentina

  • Latest World Cup shows: Runner-Up, 2014.
  • Best Goals: Champion, 1978 and 1986.
  • Notes: Argentina has quit its group in three consecutive World Championships since it was eliminated in the group stage in 2002.
  • FIFA World Ranking: 5. ELO World Ranking: 5.


  • The latest World Cup shows: First appearance.
  • Best goals: N / A.
  • Notes: The last World Cup participants to advance in the group phase was Slovakia 2010.
  • FIFA World Ranking: 22. ELO World Ranking: 24.

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