MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. The national teams of Argentina and Iceland exchanged spectacular offensives during their Group D opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held on Saturday at the Spartak Arena in Moscow, but finished their duel with 1-1 draw.
The full-house match at an over 45,000-seat capacity Spartak Arena in the Russian capital kicked off amid dry and sunny weather with temperatures hovering around 23 degrees Centigrade (about 74 Fahrenheit).
The presumed favorite of this FIFA World Cup, Argentina, started the match in dark uniform, while their opponents Iceland wore white.
Iceland was deemed by many football experts as an underdog of this championship packing many surprises, particularly after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup in France upsetting England on their way to the knockout stage.
Argentina’s striker Sergio Aguero was the one to open the score on the 20th minute of the match putting his team ahead of Iceland at 1-0.
However, three minutes later, Iceland did surprise the football fans around the globe as their offensive burst resulted with a netter from forward Alfred Finnbogason, who tied the score at 1-1.
Iceland carried on with bombarding the Argentinian goal much to the annoy Argentinian Head Coach Jorge Sampaoli, who obviously did not expect such pressure from Iceland, but the score of 1-1 remained unchanged before both teams went for their 15-minute break.
Shortly after the beginning of the second half Iceland’s Joey Gudmundsson fell hitting the turf after a strong collision and limped off injured for a substitution.
Some two minutes later a referee ordered a penalty shot against the team from Iceland and Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi stepped on the line to execute the shot, which was brilliantly saved by Iceland’s goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to keep the game’s score at 1-1.
Despite the added time of five minutes and never-ceasing exchange of attacks, both teams held a solid defense as well and the final whistle in the match signaled the draw of 1-1.
Argentina is playing its next Group D match against Croatia on June 21 in Nizhny Novgorod, while Iceland is set to take on their group opponents Nigeria on June 22 in Volgograd.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.