2018-06-16 09:53:10
Argentina vs. Iceland: World Cup 2018 Live Score and Updates

09:53, June 16 152 0

• Alfred Finnbogason gave the plucky underdogs from tiny Iceland hope with a match-tying goal at the 24 minute mark in World Cup action from Moscow.

• A goal by Sergio Aguero, his first ever in a World Cup, set the tone early to give Argentina a 1-0 lead.

• Refresh here for live updates and analysis from Russia.

How to watch: In the U.S., Fox and Telemundo have the broadcast at 9 a.m. Eastern, but you can stream it here.

They hoofed the ball up, Sigurdsson was unmarked and forced the diving save from Caballero. Defense is definitely the weakness of Argentina so far. Though Iceland seldom get the ball into the box, when they do the disorganization of Argentina is clear. And that’s halftime.

A good little cross by Meza found Biglia by the net. He went down, appealed for the penalty and got a “No dice” from the ref. Still all Argentina.

Argentina controlled the ball in the Iceland end for seemingly endless minutes. But it didn’t even really get a good shot off. Iceland defenders closed down every player, paying special attention to Messi, often using two or three defenders and putting a hand on him. It’s effective, but with the ball always near the Iceland goal, any error could bring disaster.

Argentina dominating possession. As the team moved the ball toward dangerous territory, Lucas Biglia perhaps got antsy and tried a shot from way out. It sailed over the net.

Matthew Futterman: A fascinating moment in the 29th minute when Iceland had a throw-in in front of Argentina’s bench. Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson grabbed the ball and with his tattooed right arm waved all but one of his players ahead, as if to say, “boys, we are only going to be this deep so many times today. We have to take our shots.” Gunnarsson then launched his throw a good 30 yards to the top of the penalty area, a heave by any measure. If Iceland ever gets a throw deep in Argentina’s end, it will essentially be corner kick.

Argentina had much more trouble than it should clearing the ball, and it zipped around the box dangerously. Alfred Finnbogason poached it just outside the keeper’s area and had a fairly easy finish. Poor defending by Argentina.

Aguero has scored 37 times for Argentina, but never before in a World Cup game.

It’s Sergio Aguero, who picked up the ball in the box, freed himself and fired, looking almost off-balance as he did so. Right in the net. That’s what Argentina needs to do about six more times in this tournament.

Messi was isolated with only Hallfredsson guarding him. He paused casually, beat his defender in a step and fired from just outside the box. Wide.

Matthew Futterman: For some reason FIFA has give the media some of the best seats in the house here at Spartak Stadium. I’m sitting just above the Argentina bench. If Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli didn’t have to manage the match and would turn around, we could have a chat without event raising our voices. This does not often happen at major international sporting events. I can tell you that Sampaoli up close looks like he is expecting some terrible new from a doctor. He’s barely stopped pacing the sidelines since the opening whistle. He keeps grabbing his face. He looks like he might cry. With good reason, perhaps given how close Iceland came to taking a lead in the early minute. Meanwhile, Iceland Coach Heimir Hallgrimson — I’d have to raise my voice to talk to him, but not scream — has been stoic and mostly stationary. Arms crossed. He may be contemplating some upcoming dental surgery. It’s a fascinating contrast.

First corner to Argentina. Di Maria hesitated over it, then sent it right to Iceland. Argentina controlling possession, and Di Maria tried a very speculative shot. Not close.

A sloppy pass in Argentina’s box leaves Sigurdsson inches away from poking it in. Bjarnason then latches on to it and shoots it just wide. Nearly a terrible error for Argentina.

Free kick to Messi again. It races through the box and Tagliafico gets a head to it, but it goes wide.

It’s from 40 yards plus, but still. Free kick for Messi! He ships it into the box where it rolls free, worryingly for Iceland, but is eventually cleared.

Between the sticks for Argentina is Willy Caballero, who sits on the bench for Chelsea. But here he’s starting for a World Cup contender. (Chelsea’s starter, Thibaut Courtois, is the starter for Belgium here.)

Argentina is in black and Iceland in white. A first ever World Cup for tiny Iceland. And is this the start of (finally) Messi’s World Cup? Or will it be another disappointment?

• Iceland Lineup

2 Sevarsson

14 Arnason

6 R Sigurdsson

18 Magnusson

7 Berg Gudmundsson

17 Gunnarsson

20 Hallfredsson

8 Bjarnason

10 G Sigurdsson

11 Finnbogason

Argentina Lineup

23 Caballero

18 Salvio

17 Otamendi

16 Rojo

3 Tagliafico

13 Meza

5 Biglia

14 Mascherano

11 Di María

10 Messi

19 Aguero

• Heimir Hallgrimsson is a laid-back leader and sometime dentist who sees success for Iceland’s national team as a continuing journey unconnected to its 2018 World Cup finish.

• The greatest player in the world (sorry, Ronaldo fans) is Lionel Messi. But the naysayers who love Pele and Maradona still like to point out that he needs a World Cup to claim G.O.A.T. status. He is 30 years old now, and this may be his last chance to play in the big event in his prime.

• Messi has plenty of talented company, including Sergio Aguero, the Manchester City striker who loves to score, Paulo Dybala and Angel di Maria. So the talent to lift the Cup is there, but can it mesh together? Argentina placed only third in South American qualifying, with a 7-4-7 record.

• Iceland, population 350,000, is the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup. But it proved in the European Championship two years ago that it could play with the top sides, defeating England in the round of 16. The result was hardly a fluke, as Iceland followed it by finishing ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey in its World Cup qualifying group.

• European teams have taken notice of Iceland’s skills and its players have taken up residence at top clubs in England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey and Russia.

• In a statement that may come back to haunt him, midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson of Iceland said, “We kept Ronaldo quite quiet, so hopefully we can do the same against Messi.”