Tiny Iceland made a stunning first-ever World Cup appearance when they held 2014 runners-up Argentina to a 1-1 draw in a dramatic match where Lionel Messi blew his chance to win it when he had a penalty saved by Hannes Por Halldorsson.
"I did a lot of homework", Iceland 'keeper Halldorsson said after stoning Messi's second-half attempt. "It was a long shot but it happened", he said. I feel responsible for not having the three points.
Magnusson, who only had eyes for the ball, was ruled to have bundled Meza to the floor but Messi missed the chance to put the favourites back in front and Iceland held on for a deserved point. The two-time World Cup and 2014 runners-up Argentina are prepping up to take part in their 17th finals appearance, while Iceland - the smallest nation of all 32 countries in terms of population with just under 335,000 locals - are making their first World Cup appearance in Russian Federation. "I want to keep on the road we are going on at Iceland, we want to qualify for as many Euros and World Cups as we can. It's a very even World Cup and you're seeing that, because all the games are very close", said Messi. In the final minute, Ronaldo had whipped in a free kick to equalize for Portugal against Spain; Messi, presented with a similar set play, his third of the game, scuffed his shot into the wall. Playing two defensive midfielders in Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano smacks of a safety-first approach, which does not play to Messi's strength.
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With a population of 335,000, the European nation will have to stop one man Lionel Messi who has not had a good love affair with the World Cup in his three previous tournaments. Messi curled a shot just wide in the 81st minute, before having another, similar effort blocked in the box three minutes later, but there would be no victor, for Messi or anyone else.
Messi stepped up for the kick but Halldorsson guessed correctly and palmed away the Argentine skipper's side-footed effort. Because we could have sold much more in Iceland.
Argentina next face Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday, while the Viking party rolls on to Volgograd, where they face Nigeria on Friday.
'We really felt we were in a complicated group and we knew it would be a hard game'.
Two years on, Heimir Hallgrimsson's intrepid team played with exactly the same team ethic and collective zeal that propelled them past England and into the quarter-finals at Euro 2016.