All eyes on Messi as Argentina take on Iceland

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Is this Messi's last chance for a World Cup? Credit JUAN MABROMATA AFP

A superstar of football knocked off his pedestal at the World Cup.

Iceland may be the smallest country ever to qualify for a World Cup, but Sampaoli was not underestimating his opponents.

With the world watching him in a World Cup opener against Iceland, the normally brilliant Messi struck a weak spot kick that was saved, leaving Argentina with a disappointing 1-1 draw.

The round of 16 could be beckoning.

Birkir Saevarsson, seen here scoring an own goal against Hungary in 2016, says playing football professionally is "the best job you can have, but it's not the real life". They had a lot of possession.

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So what did we learn from a result that might just have blown the group wide open? Spoken like a veteran. They know no one wants to play them. The idea is the same, we have to win the next two games.

Lionel Messi called for calm and said there is no need for Argentina to go "crazy", despite failing to beat Iceland at the World Cup, partly thanks to his "painful" penalty miss. The teams eventually finished their duel with 1-1 draw. The Spurs man also netted the second in his team's recent 2-0 victory over Mexico. The team has earned its reputation as an organized, stout defending side that's unsafe on set pieces.

"We had a hard time creating chances".

But just five minutes later, Iceland equalized, as Alfred Finnbogason took advantage of a disorganized Argentina defence to tie the score.

"I can see [Messi]'s in a great form and very excited about the possibility of starting a new tournament that we expect will put him in the place that he deserves", Sampaoli said.

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The superstar forward goes into the World Cup under enormous pressure to finally win a major global title.

Aguero during the Argentina vs Iceland game settled Argentine nerves in the 19th minute when he latched onto Marcos Rojo's pass in the box, turned and hammered home with his left foot.

In the meantime, the team and its Viking-helmeted fans will continue to make the most of their first time on soccer's biggest stage.

Argentina had pulled out of their final pre-World Cup warm up game with Israel after intense protests and threats from the Palestinians after Israel made a decision to move the game to Jerusalem. "If you have players like Messi, it's the coach's job to organise the team around them, to take advantage of their incredible skills". Despite having just 100 or so full-time professional footballers to choose from, Iceland succeeded where four-time World Cup victor Italy and three-time runner-up the Netherlands failed because - in everything from lavishing training on kids to making fans feel like they're an integral part of the team's success - Iceland is doing everything right.

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