FULL TIME — ICELAND 1 – ARGENTINA 1
Argentina and Iceland battled to a 1-1 tie in their World Cup Day 3 match on Saturday, in a match that was a hell of a lot more exciting than its scoreline would suggest.
Before the game, We wrote that this match was somehow being billed as Lionel Messi taking on Cristiano Ronaldo, and laughed at it, and then the reality laughed at me, because I am a fool. Messi missed a penalty, and struggled to carry an Argentina team that looked shaky, especially in the back. So uh, I guess Ronaldo is the soccer legend, and Lionel Messi is trash, or something?
The funny thing is, I thought Messi was sort of brilliant? He was unguardable when he had the ball, he played the perfect ball in that earned the penalty, he just missed on a couple chances … it seems reductive to point to him as the cause of Argentina’s problems. Should he have taken the penalty? Probably not, especially when you have Aguero in the side. But otherwise, I’m not sure he’s the guy I’m putting that result on.
The first half was a study in two different styles of play. Iceland sat back, organized, keeping men behind the ball and looking to break on the counter attack. Argentina possessed, tried to find Messi in the middle, and took their time trying to pick apart the defense. Every once in a while, Iceland would break, and the game would open wide up.
The first goal came from Sergio Aguero, who took a Marcus Rojo shot/pass across the face of goal, collected it, turned his man, and ripped a shot into the top left corner. Iceland answered right back, however, when some sloppy defending and missed clearances resulted in Finnbogason getting the ball at his feet six yards out and then clearing.
The big moment of banter came in the 63rd minute when Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick, which, depending on who you ask, was either a nice save by Icelandic keeper Halldorsson … or Lionel Messi showing how he is an inferior player to Cristiano Ronaldo and cementing his legacy as a choker on the biggest stage.
Again, that all seems a bit simplistic to me, but what do I know. See all the goals and highlights below:
19’ GOAL FOR KUN AGUERO. ARGENTINA LEADS 1-0.
And that’s one way to do it! Rojo the center back carries forward, rips what appears to be a shot into the box, and it’s collected by Sergio Aguero, who takes a touch back, turns his man, and rips a left-footed shot in the top corner. Argentina hadn’t looked all that great up until that moment, but when you have Aguero and Messi, you can make stuff out of nothing.
23’ GAME ON. GOAL FOR ICELAND, AND IT’S FINNBOGASON. 1-1.
Argentina can’t clear their lines … again … a cross from Sigurdsson is blocked, and Finnbogason is there to clean up the mess from six yards out. That’s Iceland’s first World Cup goal ever, too, as everyone is very eager to tell me. WE GOT A SOCCER GAME.
HALFTIME. THAT WAS FUN.
I was worried this thing was going to be a boring, cagey affair, but we’ve had a game! Argentina’s defense is an absolute mess, Iceland is looking dangerous on the counter, and Argentina’s attack is so good that they can stay in any game. Also, watching Messi dribble around people in tight spaces is the closest I’ve felt to the first time I saw the Grand Canyon.
63’ PENALTY TO ARGENTINA. MESSI SHOOTS … AND IT IS SAVED!!!!
Lionel Messi clips in a gorgeous ball to Meza, who is taken down in the box. Messi then steps up to take the PK, but it’s STOPPED by Iceland goalkeeper Halldorsson. BANTER. SCENES. NARRATIVE. ALL THE OTHER WORDS. WHOOO BABY