World Cup 2018: Argentina vs Iceland, 5 Talking Points

Argentina v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Messi's Argentina faltered against minnows Iceland
Zeeshan Ali

SCORE: Argentina (Aguero 19') 1-1 Iceland (Finnbogason 23')

Lionel Messi has been sitting in his hotel room watching all the big stars light up the World Cup; chief among whom has been his arch nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo, who came up with a hattrick against Spain the previous night, to send the world into a frenzy. Messi finally got his chance as Argentina faced Iceland who had managed to qualify for the World Cup Finals for the first time in their history, in their opening fixture of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Otkrytiye Arena.

The newcomers caught the world's imagination in the last international competition they were so memorably a part of, the 2016 Euros. The Vikings have been placed in Group D, alongside dark horses Croatia, a very talented Nigerian side, and Iceland's opponents on the night - Argentina, in what is the closest to a "Group of death" in this edition of the World Cup.

The wealth of attacking talent at the disposal of the Argentina coach, Jorge Sampaoli, meant that there was no place for Paolo Dybala in the starting line-up. Irrespectively, Argentina ought to be sitting pretty on top of the group, but football is a funny sport. Here are the Talking Points:

#5 Frantic start to the game

Argentina v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Messi had a few pops at goal early on in the game.

The game got off to a blistering start, with both teams hell-bent on getting the early advantage. Within the opening 15 minutes, we got to see more chances than in probably the entirety of the game which preceded it: France vs Australia.

Argentina were almost caught off guard, straight from the off, with Iceland registering their first shot on goal with just seconds on the clock. That should've been a sign of their intent. They weren't just there to make up the numbers. Argentina looked to hit straight back and afforded the minnows a chance on the break which they really ought to have put away.

It was in the first quarter of the game when, arguably, the greatest of his generation, Lionel Messi was at his menacing best. The Argentine kept getting on the ball and got a bunch of shots away at the opposition goal; the man with the gloves dealt with all of them, comfortably, while the others whisked just wide.

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Edited by Amit Mishra
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