Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Messi: The Penalty Was Painful

Messi: The Penalty Was Painful

Argentine maestro Lionel Messi missed the fourth penalty in his last seven attempts for club Barcelona and country, bringing back memories of his skying effort in the 2016 Copa America final against Chile.

Messi's Argentina were held to a surprise 1-1 draw against Iceland.

Guerrero had his penalty reduced after the three rival captains wrote letters to Federation Internationale de Football Association earlier this year arguing the 34-year-old former Bayern Munich attacker was in danger of missing what could be the only World Cup appearance of his career.

"It's true that the coach organises the team - we know how to set up teams to find situations", he said.

Argentina dominated possession and territory in the second half but could not find the victor amid some dogged Icelandic defending, with Lionel Messi's penalty miss summing up a disappointing afternoon for the South American side.

"I did my homework". They needed an own goal and a penalty kick to complete the scoreline, while the African nation did next to nothing. Despite having just 100 or so full-time professional footballers to choose from, Iceland succeeded where four-time World Cup victor Italy and three-time runner-up the Netherlands failed because - in everything from lavishing training on kids to making fans feel like they're an integral part of the team's success - Iceland is doing everything right.

In contrast, Messi, with the score at 1-1, drove his free-kick straight into the wall, booting the ball into the air in frustration as the final whistle sounded seconds later.

At the end, Messi retreated alone into the center circle with his head bowed and hands on his knees. "I have no doubt that a goal from the penalty kick would have changed everything".

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli dismissed Messi's penalty set-back as a "statistic" and praised his attitude in a hard game.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey releases on October 5th, gets first official gameplay trailer
Both have the same backstory, so you don't have to worry about missing out on any key story elements. In Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the characters would switch between Evie and Jacob.

In the meantime, the team and its Viking-helmeted fans will continue to make the most of their first time on soccer's biggest stage. Indeed, the result and performance matched its European Championship two years ago.

24 hours earlier, Ronaldo hit a hat-trick as Portugal drew 3-3 with Spain. Birkir Bjarnasson dragged wide from a decent position in the first half, while Gylfi Sigurdsson looked lively throughout and had a decent chance just before half time.

It was a finish worthy of Argentina great Diego Maradona, who was watching in the VIP section at Spartak Stadium.

But it is not just the number and varying quality of penalties astonishing fans at this World Cup: the new Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system has ramped controversy up to a whole new level. But his faultless handling and excellent shot-stopping was deserving of the accolade.

This was the first game in Group D, which looks even more evenly balanced now than it did at kickoff.

Croatia has three points after a 2-0 win over Nigeria, but they weren't convincing at all.

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.

"Are you Cristiano Ronaldo's uncle?" Iceland were able to shut him out, and by doing so, cut off Argentina's main avenue in attack.

"We are more unpredictable now, and hopefully we'll show that in the competition", he said. "We were very slow on the ball", Sampaoli said.

Like this: