Moscow: Iceland registered a stunning win in its first-ever World Cup match here on Saturday, holding 2014 runners-up Argentina to a 1-1 draw, as Lionel Messi missed the penalty.
After 19 minutes of the Group D match, Sergio Aguero had given the twice world champions the lead , but Iceland, who stunned the soccer world with their run to the quarter-finals of the European Championship two years ago, hit back four minutes later through Alfred Finnbogason.
Argentina, playing in all-black and roared on by the vast majority of the crowd in the Spartak Stadium, eventually took command and delivered wave after wave of attacks in the second half. But they actually created few chances either side of Messi's poorly-struck 64th-minute penalty.
Iceland held Lionel Messi and Argentina to just a goal, drawing the South Americans 1-1 in its debut game to open up Group D. Messi was knocking on the door throughout the entire match, but he missed a penalty kick in the second half. His teammates relied on him too much and Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson impressed with seven saves. Argentina dominated the ball with 78 percent of the possession and outshot Iceland 27-8, but the ball just wouldn't hit the back of the net for both sides during the final hour.
Both teams now have a point in the group, but it feels like a win for Iceland. They held on, fought hard defensively and did enough to deserve a draw. Argentina, meanwhile, will feel like it deserved more as the pressure mounts on Jorge Sampaoli after just 90 minutes.(UNI)