Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Iceland's 'zombie film' keeper outwits Messi spot kick

World Cup 2018 Argentina vs Iceland Lionel Messi Led Argentina Look To Make Early Statement Lionel Messi-led Argentina open their World Cup 2018 campaign against Iceland
| 17 June, 2018, 18:35

Messi is a man on a mission as he chases his first World Cup winner's medal.

VAR has been used to varying degrees of success in Serie A and the German Bundesliga, while Federation Internationale de Football Association used the system at the Confederations Cup in Russia a year ago. Birkir Bjarnason pushed wide his near post effort.

Messi looked furious as he led his team out for the second half but the Argentines still struggled to dominate.

Messi was starting to find more freedom despite Iceland's shackles and he tested Hannes Halldorsson with a stinging drive.

Despite his penalty miss, Messi's brilliance is undeniable and Aguero showed he is not a bad support act with a fine left-footed finish into the top corner.

Arab Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi also linked the miss to the withdrawal from the Israel game, tweeting a poll asking "Who was happier that Messi missed his penalty today?"

Asked if he had revealed his team early because he did not think Iceland were particularly strong, Sampaoli responded: "No, no, no, the reason why we have named our team in advance is because we knew since Wednesday what we wanted to do".

Messi was gifted the chance to put Argentina in front for the second time in Moscow.

Iceland's Olafur Skulason applauds to the fans when warming up prior to the group D match between Argentina and Iceland.

And with so many similarities between the games, it's only natural that Messi's reaction was going to be compared and although it's far from angelic, it cuts quite the difference.


A final free kick by Messi in the 95th minute appropriately sailed into a wall thick with Iceland players.

11 - Lionel Messi had 11 shots v Iceland, the highest tally without scoring in a World cup match for an Argentinian player since Opta keep full World Cup data (1966).

Rurik Gislason came on for the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson in an enforced Iceland change, and Messi curled a free kick over as he tried to make amends for his failure to score from the spot.

While Argentina controlled the ball for large stretches, they held steady at the back, and with 20 minutes remaining the situation was summed up when Banega curled a hopeful, rather than unsafe, shot towards the 'keeper from outside the box.

At Euro 2016, Iceland drew against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and famously beat England on the way to the quarter-finals.

After a scoreless first half, the VAR system was used to overturn a missed foul against France's Antoine Griezmann after play was initially waved on.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's men managed only just over two passes a minute with 190 in total, only 125 (66 percent) of them finding their target.

"I hope it is going to prove important to us to reach our goal to qualify", Halldorsson said of the penalty save.

Their remaining group games - against Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria five days later - will come against opponents more inclined to try to carry the play and perhaps leave more gaps in their respective defences.

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