Iceland goalkeeper Halldorsson: I tried to get inside Messi's head

Diego Maradona

Argentina and Iceland began their 2018 World Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw in Moscow on Saturday afternoon.

Messi had 11 shots during the game - Iceland managed eight - but failed to find the net as Sergio Aguero's fine strike was cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason.

Huge geothermally heated indoor football halls welcome boys and girls after school for government-subsidized training, away from the hostile Artic weather, and an abundance of licensed coaches - 1 for every 35 players registered in clubs - hot-house their progress.

Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha did not award a penalty but after viewing the VAR footage, ruled it was a spot-kick and Griezmann gave France a 1-0 lead.

The FIFA ambassador was puffing a large cigar despite smoking being banned in all World Cup venues.

"I had studied Messi and I tried to get inside his head". "I feel responsible for not having been able to take the three points".

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Heimir Hallgrimsson has defended Iceland's surprise qualification for the World Cup.

"Worried? No, I'm angry and it hurts because I missed the penalty".

"He knows how important he is to this team and I want to see him start with a bang against Switzerland tonight".

But if Argentina themselves are embarrassed by such attention on their finest ever player, they will be also be red-faced by their stumbling stalemate with Iceland in their group opener today. "It was the advantage", said Messi about his penalty. "But, yes, we must do better, and we can do better", he said.

Opponents, Iceland, continued their surprise Euro 2016 success by topping their World Cup qualifying group - a group that contained Croatia, the Ukraine and Turkey. "The Mexicans come up against Brazil or Germany... and 'boom, ' they're out". It's a wonderful story, granted, but here we have a team that made the last eight of the European Championships two years ago, and finished at the top of a qualifying group that also contained Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey.

"To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is hard because it was an uncomfortable match for him", Sampaoli said.

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