Iceland hold Argentina in World Cup Championship as Messi loses a Penalty

Posted By: Patience Rutayisire - On:18/06/2018
Hannes Thr Halldrsson was the Iceland hero as the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup held Argentina 1-1 in their Group D opener at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

Sergio Agüero had put Argentina ahead in the 19th minute, smashing his first World Cup finals goal past Halldórsson from 12 yards. But Iceland were quickly level, Alfred Finnbogason capitalising in the 23rd minute when Willy Caballero in the Argentina goal palmed away Gylfi Sigurdsson’s low cross unconvincingly.

In the 63rd minute, Agüero went down in a clash with Hördur Björgvin Magnússon and a penalty was awarded. It looked marginal but was not overturned; however, Halldórsson dived to his right to deny Messi.

There was controversy a quarter of an hour later when Cristian Pavón went down in the penalty area. There seemed to be contact from Birkir Már Sævarsson but the referee was having none of it and did not refer it to VAR.

Next up for Argentina are Croatia on Thursday in Nizhny Novgorod, while Iceland play Nigeria in Volgograd on Friday. The group concludes on Tuesday 26 June with Nigeria v Argentina in St Petersburg and Iceland v Croatia in Rostov.

Pogba hands France a winning debut

Paul Pogba’s late goal broke Australian resistance as France started with a win in Group C and history was made with the World Cup’s first VAR goal.

The video assistant referee penalised Australia’s Josh Risdon for a sliding challenge on Antoine Griezmann, allowing the Atletico Madrid forward to dispatch a penalty, the first World Cup goal influenced by VAR.

However, a moment of madness from French defender Samuel Umtiti, who handled Aaron Mooy’s free-kick, enabled Australia to equalise through Mile Jedinak’s penalty in Kazan.

And they looked on course to hold one of the pre-tournament favourites until Pogba’s lobbed effort deflected off Australia full-back Aziz Behich and the crossbar to fall inches over the goal-line.

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