- Finnbogason makes Iceland football history
- Argentina star Messi misses penalty
The action at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium got off to a thrilling start with the match between FIFA World Cup veterans Argentina and debutants Iceland. Despite stamping their authority on the game’s opening stages, *La Albiceleste *struggled to find space against a deep-lying Icelandic defence. The breakthrough came in the 19th minute when **Sergio Aguero** fired the ball home on the turn to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. The South Americans’ joy was short-lived, however, as **Alfred Finnbogason** made history by **scoring his country’s first-ever World Cup goal** just four minutes later.
Lionel Messi had the biggest opportunity to take the lead in the second half, but his penalty was saved by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson. Although Argentina continued to press for a goal, they were repeatedly denied by the Nordic side’s staunch defensive efforts.
Lionel Messi fluffed his World Cup lines on Saturday, missing a crucial penalty as tiny Iceland held Argentina to a 1-1 draw.
His miss came after France benefited from the first use of the Video Assistant Referee system in the tournament’s history.
Just a day after his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sensational hat-trick to secure a 3-3 draw for Portugal against Spain, Messi had a golden chance to write his own headlines.
The Argentine stepped up to the spot with the teams locked at 1-1 in Moscow’s Spartak Stadium after Rurik Gislason was adjudged to have brought down Maximiliano Meza in the 63rd minute.
But Hannes Halldorsson guessed correctly and palmed away the Argentine skipper’s side-footed effort and, despite intense pressure, Iceland held on for a famous draw.
Sergio Aguero scored the opener for the two-time world champions in the 19th minute but his strike was almost immediately cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogaso.
It was another extraordinary result in the history of Iceland, who famously dumped England out of Euro 2016.
The island nation of 330,000 is the smallest country ever to qualify for the finals but emphatically showed they can mix it with the heavyweights.
Messi is yet to win a major international tournament and time is running out with his 31st birthday looming.
In the first match of the day, France launched their World Cup campaign with victory against Australia as VAR was used for the first time at a World Cup.
Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha did not award a penalty but after viewing the VAR footage, ruled it was a spot-kick and Griezmann gave France a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later the Socceroos drew level through a penalty of their own, although this time it was awarded by the referee, with Mile Jedinak coolly beating Hugo Lloris.
But Pogba won a tight match for the 1998 champions when his shot bounced over the line off the crossbar in the 81st minute.
VAR has been used to varying degrees of success in Serie A and the German Bundesliga, while FIFA used the system at the Confederations Cup in Russia last year.
The technology is used in what are considered “game-changing” situations such as a goal, penalty or red card, and can also be employed to help referees with cases of mistaken identity.
“Luckily for us the system was there,” Griezmann said. “When the referee went to see the video, I thought it was a penalty. I was already thinking about how I would take it.”
France coach Didier Deschamps said the Euro 2016 finalists must improve.