Iceland continues its astounding run with draw against Argentina after Lionel Messi misses crucial penalty kick

Gabriel Rossi/Getty ImagesIceland may be the smallest country to ever qualify for the World Cup, but they proved they can play with the best in the world with a opening draw against Argentina that included a crucial missed penalty kick by Lionel Messi.
  • Iceland played to a hard-fought draw with Argentina on Saturday, continuing the tiny country’s astounding run of international football.
  • The most memorable moment of the match came in the second half when superstar Lionel Messi took a penalty kick that would have put Argentina ahead, only to be stopped by Hannes Thor Halldorsson.
  • For Messi, the result is a disaster, especially coming just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo single-handedly carried Portugal to a 3-3 draw against Spain.

Iceland continued its miraculous run of international football on Saturday, holding on for a 1-1 draw against Argentina its first match at the 2018 World Cup.

The country of just 335,000 captured the hearts of soccer fans across the world back in 2016 with a miraculous run through Euro 2016, which included a knockout win against England. The underdog story continued through World Cup qualifying, with Iceland becoming the smallest country ever to make the tournament.

On Saturday, Iceland had the chance to prove that its belonged amongst the best in the world, and did so with aplomb, playing Argentina to a gutsy 1-1 draw.

After falling behind, 1-0, early in the match, Iceland kept its composure and responded soon after, with Alfred Finnbogason scoring his country’s first ever World Cup goal to tie the game.

But the most memorable moment of the game came in the second half. Argentina looked as though it was ready to take back control of the match after being awarded a penalty kick when Maxi Meza was taken down in the box by his Icelandic defender in the 64th minute.

Superstar Lionel Messi elected to take the shot from the spot and the match looked poised for a disappointing end for Iceland, but goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson made a great save to deny one of the best footballers on the planet.

Messi was visibly frustrated throughout the match, especially in the moments that followed his missed penalty kick. Iceland’s defence was able to hold through a few more Argentinian attacks, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw with each team earning a point towards advancing towards the knockout stage.

Naturally, Iceland fans took part in a massive SKOL chant in celebration.

For Messi, the result is nothing short of devastating. Just a day after Cristiano Ronaldo carried his team to a winning draw against Spain with an unreal hat trick, Messi’s crucial miss and failure to finish led Argentina to a losing draw. Anyone actively arguing the Ronaldo side of the Messi-Ronaldo debate will no doubt look to the past 24 hours for years to come.

For Iceland, the draw is just another astounding result in one of the most impressive stretches in recent history. The team once again proved that they could play with the best in the world, secured a point off of the toughest team in the group, and will have a chance to advance through to the next round.

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