FIFA World Cup 2018: Matchday 1 Combined XI
The first matchday of the 2018 FIFA World Cup had a good share of barn-burning contests. The encounter between Spain and Portugal turned out to be a goal-fest thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa. Last minute goals by England, Uruguay, and an own goal by Morocco squashed the African nations' hopes of snatching a point in their opening encounters.
There were a lot of upsets as well. Germany succumbed to a 1-0 loss to Mexico, Iceland held Argentina 1-1, and Switzerland walked home with a point against Brazil. If you are one of those people who watch football once in four years, the tournament should have left you in sixes and sevens as to whom to cheer.
Nonetheless, there were some players who fascinated us with their performance. Whether it be vigorous defending, resolute goalkeeping, or scintillating attacking prowess, these players have proved the world why they are the very best. Furthermore, we only selected one player from each team to have representation from as many countries as possible.
#11 Goalkeeper- Hannes Por Halldorsson (Iceland)
Before the World Cup began, all the eyes were on Manuel Neuer and David de Gea. Many believed that the contest would be between the two to go home with the Golden Glove. However, Iceland's Hannes Por Halldorsson shocked everyone with his flexibility against Argentina.
Other than the goal scored by Sergio Aguero, Haldorsson made a total of seven saves in the ninety minutes. The 34-year-old former filmmaker even saved Lionel Messi's penalty which could have sealed the deal for Argentina. Here is what he told the press when asked about his terrific save:
“I looked at a lot of penalties from Messi and I also looked at how I’ve been behaving during the last couple of penalties. I tried to get in their minds, so they’d be thinking about me. I had a good feeling he’d go this way today.”
It wouldn't be a surprise if his saves guide Iceland to the knockout stages. To say, he deserved to be the 'Man of the Match' in their encounter against Argentina goes without saying.