26 shots for Argentina, 7 on target, 10 blocked. Iceland’s keeper a giant between the sticks. Messi with as many attempts as Iceland, but the Nordic nation can hold their heads high. Group C off to a cracker.

Full-time and Iceland have a point here!

The Vikings have denied La Albiceleste the win. Magical, magical Iceland. The world’s best player denied from the spot by their keeper. They came back to equalise after going behind.

Messi, Aguero, Di Maria, Higuain, all left stunned as the Viking Clap will be out and roaring tonight. Argentina have failed to beat a debutant on the opening night of the World Cup for the first time in 84 years.

90 + 2’: Messi shanks one wide. 1-1.

Closer and closer for Argentina but with three minutes to go, Iceland have kept out all of Messi’s 9 attempts. What a World Cup debut this has been. Fergie time or a point for Sampaoli.

90th minute: Five minutes added on. 1-1.

Iceland’s goalscorer Finnbogason is off as Gislason comes on. He is unlikely to ever forget his and his country’s first-ever World Cup goal.

87th minute: SAVE! Halldorsson bails his team out once again. 1-1.

A ball floated into the box, almost finds its way past the Iceland keeper who keeps it out. Meanwhile, Argentina’s favourite son Gonzalo Higuain is on.

82th minute: Messi goes close once again! 1-1

The Viking men are hanging on, and hoping, praying, that a particular forward from Barcelona is reserving his magic for another day. Tense moments at the Spartak stadium.

Some wordplay for you’ll:

77th minute: Pavon goes down, asks for a penalty. The referee is unmoved. 1-1.

Iceland living dangerously here, but the replays show that the young winger might have exaggerated the contact. Messi might not miss a second penalty.

Jeremy Clarkson has an important question for all of you.

74’ - Messi tries to make something happen on the edge of the box but is blocked. 1-1.

Argentina are now entering desperation time. Iceland, meanwhile, after that clumsy tackle to give away the penalty, have retained their shape. We’re all set for a grand finish to what has been a thoroughly entertaining game.

Angel Di Maria is off for Cristian Pavon. Captain Gunnarsson is replaced by Skulason.

68th minute: Iceland have a corner but nothing comes out of it. 1-1.

What must be going through Messi’s mind? The penalty wasn’t struck towards the corner, Halldorsson guessed correctly, jumped to his right and might just have made himself an Icelandic hero. This game has everything, folks. And more.


Leo Messi is denied by the Icelandic keeper. He was brought down in the box by Magnusson but his spot-kick is weak and it is parried away by Halldorsson.

58th minute: Ever Banega’s shot is blocked. Still, 1-1 in Moscow.

Iceland defend with eight men behind the ball as the substitute is unable to break through. Meanwhile, the Viking Clap has lost none of its magnitude.

54th minute: First change for Argentina, Ever Banega comes on for Lucas Biglia...

Meanwhile, just Maradona things...

After 51 mins, Argentina 1-1 Iceland

Iceland have started the second half with a lot of purpose, Sigurdsson at the heart of their attacking play down the left. They force a corner but nothing comes out of it. Good linkup play going forward, but Argentina have the ball back again.

46’ - We are off in Moscow, with the score at 1-1.

No changes for either side, but will Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain come on for Argentina? And do Iceland have more surprises up their sleeve? The second half is here.

Argentina have dominated all the statistics at half-time but Iceland are level on the most crucial one.

Iceland completed 25 passes in their 45 minutes and enjoyed a 26% possession. Their keeper Halldorsson with the third-most completed passes for his team. Who cares about ball retention, anyway? (Sorry, Pep.)

Half-time and it’s all level at 1-all in Moscow.

Kun Aguero’s sharp shooting brought Argentina the lead but Iceland have refused to lie down. Alfred Finnbogason with the equaliser four minutes later, taking advantage of confusion in the Argentine defence. The second half is awaited with bated breath.

44’ - CHANCE! Gylfi Sigurdsson with a chance but it is saved. 1-1

Iceland giving Argentina the chills as the Everton man shoots low but there is a save to match by Caballero. Gripping, intriguing stuff complete with the voice of Peter Drury on a Saturday evening. Enjoy, folks.

Meanwhile, a throwback to Iceland’s greatest footballing moment.

37’ - Iceland struggling to get out of their own half. 1-1 in Moscow.

After that goal, it’s gone all quiet for the Nordic new boys, as Argentina dominate possession but are unable to break through. How long can the debutants hold on for?

32’ - It’s 1-1 in Moscow. Lucas Biglia shoots one over the bar.

Iceland are double and triple teaming Leo Messi. They are also looking to tear down the pitch on the counter. Meanwhile, there are some interesting comparisons on Argentina’s attack and defence...

23’ - It’s 1-1. Alfred Finnbogason with the goal.

Iceland’s maiden World Cup goal as the number 11 shoots home after a goal-mouth scramble. What a game we have in store here. It’s not finished, not by any stretch of the imagination.

19’ - AGUEERROOOO! 1-0 to Argentina.

The Manchester City man receives the ball in the box, turns around and rifles it home with his left foot. It’s also his first-ever World Cup goal.

13’ - Still 0-0 as Otamendi smashes one over.

The centre-back pairing of Otamendi and Rojo look shaky in the opening moments. Iceland have had their moments early on. This might not be straight-forward for the two-time champions.

10’ - CLOSE! 0-0.

Argentina almost shot themselves in the foot, as Iceland come close to opening the scoring. Confusion in the Argentinian defence but Iceland can’t take advantage.

7’ - Another free-kick for Argentina in Iceland territory.

The Scandinavian nation become the 78th in World Cup history. In case you didn’t know, the average age of the two teams combined is the oldest in World Cup history, at 30 years and 213 days.

The previous highest was 30 years and 96 days, set by Germany v Belgium (3-2) in 1994.

4’ - Argentina have an early free-kick here and no surprises really as to who’s taking it.

Leo Messi whips one in but the ball bounces harmlessly behind.

1’ - We have kick-off in Moscow.

06:25 pm: Five minutes to kick-off and both teams are out in the middle, waiting for their respective national anthems. Argentina start their quest for a third World Cup after 1978 and 1986, and will attempt to end a 32-year-long wait.

06:20 pm: Argentina have a goal drought stretching back to 322 minutes, or over five hours at the World Cup. Gonzalo Higuain’s quarter-final goal against Belgium in 2014 was the last goal that they had scored in the tournament.

Also, for your viewing pleasure:


06:15 pm: The trio of Di Maria, Messi and Aguero are among the best in the world and are to be feared. However, do not count Iceland out, who, with a population of 335,000, comparable to Bandra, have worked nothing less than a miracle to get to Russia 2018.

They are ready for the game of their lives.

06:10 pm: Today’s referee Szymon Marciniak is from Poland and holds an interest in Martial Arts. Marciniak used to play for Wisla Plock but switched to officiating after being sent off and then arguing with the referee who challenged him to do the job himself. He has overseen the finals of the Under-21 European Championships as well as three games at Euro 2016.

06:00 pm: 84 years! That’s how long it has been since Argentina kicked off their World Cup campaign with a defeat against a debutant. In 1934, they lost 3-2 to Sweden. They have faced debutants five times since; a 1-0 win against Bulgaria, 4-0 against Greece in 1994, 1-0 against Japan in 1998, twin 2-1 wins against Ivory Coast in 2006 and against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.

05:50 pm: Argentina have only played one warm-up game in the run-up to the World Cup. How will Jorge Sampaoli’s team perform against a solid Icelandic defence? Also, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, Messi is behind his Portugal and Real Madrid rival, trailing him 6 to 5 for World Cup goals.

Argentina started in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Aguero playing in front of Messi, while Iceland will use a 4-5-1.

05:35 pm: Heimir Hallgrimsson’s men had an incredible qualifying campaign, progressing from a group which contained Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. They were also incredible efficient in qualifying as they scored only 16 goals – fewer than any other group winners.

Coming into the tournament, they haven’t had the best of form, failing to win in four matches. Hallgrimsson, however has tweaked with the team’s line-up and shape in those games, similar to their preparations for Euro 2016 under their dentist coach and Lars Lagerback.

05:28 pm: The line-ups are out and it’s Leo Messi leading Argentina against Aron Gunnarsson’s Iceland. In the absence of the injured Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero starts as goalkeeper for La Albiceleste. Kun Aguero starts as does Angel Di Maria.

05:25 pm: France have claimed a crucial 2-1 victory against Australia. Two penalties, one by Antoine Griezmann, the other by Mile Jedinak but it was upto Paul Pogba to deliver the knockout blow to the Socceroos. Here’s how it all went down.

05:10 pm: Lionel Messi scored his first World Cup goal on his debut 12 years ago. On 16 June 2006, Messi replaced Maxi Rodriguez in the 75th minute of Argentina’s match against Serbia and Montenegro. The Barcelona forward scored Argentina’s final goal in a 6-0 win, the first of five for him at World Cups.

05:00 pm: Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the first match in Group D. Is that Viking claps we hear? Of course, it is. It’s the mighty Iceland, making their World Cup debut and who do they face? Lionel Messi and Argentina, no big deal. This promises to be a fun match.