The Group D opener between Argentina and Iceland could have been billed as "The Vikings" versus "The King" such had been the focus on leading man Lionel Messi to finally win an global tournament with La Albiceleste.
Argentina began their World Cup campaign in Moscow on Saturday afternoon with Lionel Messi struggling as Iceland battled for a 1-1 draw.
Argentina were held to a draw by World Cup debutants Iceland Saturday, with Lionel Messi blowing a gilt-edged opportunity for victory when he missed a penalty. The first two caused Iceland all kinds of problems but if Messi is only causing danger from set pieces, you're doing a good job of shutting him out.
"If I scored the penalty, it would have changed everything in the game". This could also be Lionel Messi's last chance of World Cup glory and expectations have risen following Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning hat-trick against Spain on Friday.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli dismissed his star player's penalty set-back as a "statistic" and praised his attitude in a hard game.
But the truth of the matter is, Argentina aren't a good enough side to go far in the tournament.
"I should know about how he is going to move over the pitch as I have watched him since he was a teenager". Because we could have sold much more in Iceland.More news: World Cup match report Argentina v Iceland 16 June 2018
As so often after a breathless first 45, the second half started slowly. We should have used out greater offensive presence and taken advantage of Maxi [Meza]'s position in the second period. I see it as teamwork.
Sergio Aguero had given the twice world champions the lead after 19 minutes of the Group D match.
However, Ronaldo has played Iceland at a major competition, too, and it finished very similarly.
"We always come to win so that's why there is a certain amount of frustration".
"I say that we have to reach the last four at the World Cup", Argentina's team general manager, Jorge Burruchaga, told FIFA's website. Birkir Bjarnason pushed wide his near post effort. They are next level but also take a look at his stats, how much does he run in every game?
Argentina looked a disjointed side with a weakish defence at the back. Playing under a third different manager of their qualifying campaign, his hat-trick in their last group match against Ecuador was pretty much the only reason they made it to Russian Federation.
Heimir Hallgrimsson's gameplan centred around using his team's dynamism to exploit Argentina's porous backline on the counter-attack and the favourites' sloppiness led to several openings, particularly in the first period. But that couldn't conjure a breakthrough either. Remember, Though Iceland played their hearts out today, Argentina should have brushed them off today considering the firepower they have amongst their ranks.