Argentina 1 - 1 Iceland | 16 Jun 2018


Sampaoli denies underestimating Iceland after naming XI

Hannes Halldorsson used to make zombie films for a living but it was watching videos that let Iceland's goalkeeper outwit Lionel Messi and save a penalty on Saturday that gave his side a shock World Cup point.

"It hurt missing the penalty".

Croatia and Nigeria will have to watch out, though.

With Argentina pressing for a second-half victor, Messi sublimely controlled a long pass and was primed to shoot.

With 10 minutes remaining, Messi curled a trademark shot towards goal, with the crucial difference that it glided past the post, rather than creeping inside it.

Back on the volcanic, wind-swept island bashed by Arctic seas, in winters to come when storms are blowing and the sun is on strike, Icelanders will draw warmth from the memory of the 1-1 draw in this, their first-ever World Cup match.

Social media also pointed out Messi's poor conversion rate when it comes to penalties. Lionel Messi missed a penalty to further compound Jorge Sampaoli's woes.

"We don't have to go insane".

"Beyond the goal scored against us, I don't think our transitions were fast enough and we should have hurt our opponent more".

"I had a good feeling it would go this way today", he said of his dive to his right to stop Messi's uninspired effort.

The South Americans are outright favourites to dominate the group along with probably Croatia, notwithstanding the dangers of Nigeria.

For the record, Icelandic heroic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson didn't turn professional until the age of 29, having carved himself a successful career as a filmmaker and director beforehand - though his previous employers have promised he can have his job back once he's finished with football.

Iceland is making it's first appearance on the sport's biggest stage, and represent the smallest country ever to compete in the tournament. Before trailing, Iceland could have taken the lead but Birkir Bjarnason side-footed a shot wide of goal when Caballero was exposed. It was Aguero's alertness, seizing on a mishit Marcos Rojo shot, pivoting and lashing a shot past Halldorsson, that brought the first goal.

The ball belonged to Argentina for the majority of the first half but it wasn't like Iceland expected anything different.

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

By the second half, Messi pushed further forward, presumably with the aim of getting him in more risky areas, but if anything, that made Argentina more predictable. Because we could have sold much more in Iceland.

"He's very fit, well prepared and looking forward to this World Cup and he hopes to be able to achieve his dream", he said.

"You can't have a better welcome", coach Heimar Hallgrimsson said in Moscow last December.

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