Messi misses penalty kick as Argentina held by Iceland

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Messi v Ronaldo: The story so far.

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.

Russia's capital, Moscow, will be the centre of attraction in day three of the FIFA World Cup as Lionel Messi leads his Argentine teammates against one of the tournament's latest debutants, Iceland.

Argentina, playing in all-black and roared on by the vast majority of the crowd in the Spartak Stadium, eventually took command and delivered wave after wave of attacks in the second half. Both teams jockeyed for possessions, until halftime presided with both teams looking ahead carte blanche.

In addition to saving a spot-kick from a five-time Ballon d'Or victor, Halldorsson also made six crucial saves as Iceland earned an unlikely point.

Argentina has been a major World Cup powerhouse since 1970, lifting the trophy twice in their history, but the hopes of the nation now rest on Messi to pull out a sensational performance to carry them through.

Captain Messi missed a penalty in 1-1 draw in his 125th worldwide against an Iceland side making their tournament debut as the smallest nation ever to reach the finals. After which, a neatly organized Iceland side was more than able to keep pace, and the score remained 1-1 'til the final whistle.

"We were playing against one of the best teams in the world, against one of the best players in the world", said Halldorsson, who also stopped a unsafe Cristian Pavon curler near the end and was named man of the match.

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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. I think we have a clear identity.

The defense has been an issue since Sampaoli took over, his desire to play a hard-pressing game and a high line an awkward fit with Argentina's cumbersome defenders. Right in the centre of the spotlight was none other than Lionel Messi who failed to convert a penalty in the second half of the match.

For the record, Icelandic heroic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson didn't turn professional until the age of 29, having carved himself a successful career as a filmmaker and director beforehand - though his previous employers have promised he can have his job back once he's finished with football.

"I had a good feeling he would go that way today".

"I looked at a lot of penalties by Messi and I also watched penalties I have faced so I could see how I looked to penalty-takers". Messi curled a shot just wide in the 81st minute, before having another, similar effort blocked in the box three minutes later, but there would be no victor, for Messi or anyone else.

Peru, making its first World Cup appearance in 36 years, missed a key chance to get on the board early when Christian Cueva botched a penalty kick just before halftime.

"We're bluntly honest in our ability", coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said.

France needed the help of the first World Cup penalty awarded after a video review and a deflected Paul Pogba goal to get their campaign underway with a 2-1 win over Australia in Russian Federation.

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