Iceland Holds Argentina, Danes Get 3 Points

Lionel Messi missed the penalty for Argentina.Lionel Messi missed the penalty for Argentina.

In the group D of the matches on June 16, the wonder-package Iceland stopped Argentina 1-1 in Spartak Stadium of Moscow to continue shocking people after its qualification tally to appear at the World Cup for the first time.

Tiny Iceland made a stunning impact in its first-ever World Cup on Saturday when it held 2014 runner-up Argentina to a pulsating 1-1 draw but Lionel Messi’s tournament began wretchedly as he saw his penalty saved by Hannes Halldorsson, Reuters reported.

Sergio Aguero gave the two-time world champion the lead after 19 minutes before Iceland, showing the same commitment and self-belief, that saw the team stun the soccer world with its run to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, hit back four minutes later through Alfred Finnbogason.

Yussuf Poulsen redeemed himself by scoring the solitary goal against Peru after giving away a first-half penalty as Denmark picked up a crucial victory in Group C to begin its World Cup campaign at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Saturday.

Christian Cueva ballooned the spot kick, awarded after VAR consultation when Poulsen brought down the penalty-taker, just before halftime, the worst of several misses for Peru, which has returned to the finals after a gap of 36 years.

Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday with an own goal from Oghenekaro Etebo and a penalty from Luka Modric to go top of World Cup Group D, one of the toughest and most unpredictable in the tournament in Kaliningrad.

The first goal came just after the half-hour mark when a Croatian corner from the right was headed across the box and on to striker Mario Mandzukic, whose diving header found its way into the net off Etebo’s foot.

Modric’s coolly taken 71st minute spot kick gave the scoreline a clear-cut feel, but the fact that Croatia failed to score on its own from open play was testament to some wayward shooting.

While dominating for long periods, the team struggled to penetrate the Nigerian defense and failed repeatedly to find the target with speculative shots from well outside the penalty area.

The result puts Croatia in pole position for now after Argentina and Iceland.

  Technological Win

France needed the help of the first World Cup penalty awarded after a video review and a deflected Paul Pogba goal to get its campaign underway with a scrappy 2-1 win over Australia on Saturday.

Striker Antoine Griezmann lashed home the historic spot kick in the 58th minute but Australia hit back with a penalty of its own when Samuel Umtiti inexplicably handled the ball in the box four minutes later.

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak sent his French counterpart Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the spot to give Australia hope of forcing a draw at the Kazan Arena only for Pogba to grab the winner in the 81st minute.

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