What Hannes Halldorsson Has Said About Saving Lionel Messi's Penalty

Just as easy as Ronaldo forgot about his dismal night two years ago in France, it's easy to forget Messi walked away from worldwide football around the same time.

It was a massive moment in the game and a blow for Messi, particularly after his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo's set-piece sorcery for Portugal against Spain on Friday.

Although in the second half it seemed Lionel Messi's side would make tables turn, thanks to epic save by Hannes Halldorsson, even though Argentina earned a penalty, Messi could not turn it into Buenos Aires' glory.

And the Scandinavian minnows had to come from behind after Sergio Aguero bagged his first World Cup goal to give his side an early lead. Both teams jockeyed for possessions, until halftime presided with both teams looking ahead carte blanche.

Now with Danish side Randers, Halldorsson capped his side's superb defensive display against the two-time world champions by diving to his right and saving Lionel Messi's 64th-minute spot-kick.

The Video Assistant Referee system was used for the first time in World Cup history on Saturday, when France were awarded a penalty against Australia in Kazan.

Messi was starting to find more freedom despite Iceland's shackles and he tested Hannes Halldorsson with a stinging drive.

Manchester City's Aguero missed the end of the Premier League season with a knee injury, but Sampaoli deemed him fit enough to start over Higuain, who critics say is yet to produce his best for the national team.

He ripped off his captain's armband at full-time and offered little more than a blank stare as Iceland's players acknowledged his presence.

Confident though they are, the Icelanders don't need to be reminded that they are from the smallest country every to qualify for the World Cup. Lionel Messi had a penalty kick saved as the South Americans surrendered a lead and only got a point out of the match.

Even coming up against the iconic Messi, perhaps facing his last chance to taste global glory on the grandest stage of them all, does not faze PSV's Albert Gudmundsson, the youngest player in Iceland's squad, and he believes that he and his team-mates have the ability to successfully nullify the Barcelona star, having taken a keen interest in the Catalan side.

However, against the run of play in the 23rd minute, Iceland pushed forward through Birkir Bjarnason and Aron Gunnarsson.

Against a team like Argentina, it's just a fact: They have better players. Playing their first ever World Cup, Iceland were impressive as they went toe-to-toe with the 2014 World Cup finalists. But they were massively outnumbered in the 45,000-capacity stadium by Argentina fans, and Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson did not understand why. "It was the advantage", said Messi about his penalty.

  • Kyle Peterson