Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Lionel Messi slams Iceland after Argentina draw opening match

Sampaoli denies underestimating Iceland after naming XI 2018 World Cup match report Argentina v Iceland 16 June 2018
Michele Schwartz | 17 June, 2018, 18:34

In the past 24 hours, that dynamic has reached a feeding frenzy. There were too many attempts to pass the ball through the eye of not just one needle but several at the edge of the box, even after Ever Banega had come on for Lucas Biglia and the shape had become more like the 2-3-3-2 Sampaoli had promised.

"Maybe we needed to be more creative in the first half".

No Iceland defender was at fault for failing to stop Aguero's goal.

Ronaldo in action against Iceland.

The numbers add to the pair's contrasting fortunes.

The problem with such a small time frame is that it robs any comparison of context.

The striker ruthlessly took his first goal at a World Cup-he failed to find the net in 2010 or 2014-after Marcos Rojo's wayward shot made its way to him, and he rifled home with his left foot on the turn. Sure, Spain are a world power, while Iceland aren't, but there is an alternate perspective.

Iceland, meanwhile, earned such a valuable point and made history.

But all week Iceland have been telling people their Euro 2016 win over England was not a miracle, their group-topping qualification was not a shock. "I think a lot of what we did was good, but in any case, we just have to try to win the Croatia match".

Messi had a final chance to redeem his team with the final kick of the game, but his free kick from 25 yards failed to clear a solid defensive wall.

But one gets the sense that Ronaldo has some separation from his longtime rival, especially at worldwide level.

Argentina had pulled out of the pre-World Cup match against Isreal owing to rising protests and threats from Palestinians for the venue for the game was changed to Jerusalem from Haifa.

Lionel Messi has been sitting in his hotel room watching all the big stars light up the World Cup.

It was a major embarrassment for the two-time world champions and raises questions about their ability to claim football's biggest prize for the first time since 1986. On the surface at least, there is no reason he and the Albiceleste can't. Lionel Messi had a penalty kick saved as the South Americans surrendered a lead and only got a point out of the match.

The South Americans had 27 efforts on goal and 78 percent of the possession, but their progress towards the last 16 has been made much more hard after Croatia took a grip on the group by beating Nigeria 2-0.

Messi is yet to win a major global tournament and time is running out with his 31st birthday looming. On Saturday there seemed to be no letup.

"It hurts me to have missed the penalty because it would've given us a decisive advantage", the Barcelona player said after the game.

"We have to move on. We need to be strong as a group, believe in ourselves and know we have all the tools to beat anybody".

My god Ronaldo undoubtedly enjoyed Messi's disastrous start to this World Cup - especially after his own hat-trick and subtle nod to himself as the "greatest" Friday night jolted this tournament.

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