Messi Rues Missed Penalty

Argentina captain Lionel Messi says it “hurts” after his penalty was saved during Argentina’s draw with Iceland.

The 30-year-old Barcelona star’s second-half spot-kick was easily stopped by opposition keeper Hannes Halldorsson with the score at 1-1.

Messi was looking to match the impact his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo has made so far with a hat-trick against Spain on Friday night.

“It would have changed the script. It was the advantage,” he said.

“Obviously it hurts me to have missed the penalty. They would have opened a little more and we could have found more spaces.

“We have the bitterness of not being able to take the three points that we deserved. To start with winning is always important, now we have to think about Croatia.

“We will try to pass this quickly. ”

Messi said Iceland’s tactic’s made it hard for his side claiming “they did not want to play” but admitted that Heimir Hallgrimsson’s team “closed well”.

The Argentina skipper has now missed four of the last seven penalties that he has taken for club and country combined.

He continued to try for a way through against Iceland with 11 attempted shots, the most he’s ever tried in a World Cup game, but was left frustrated.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli dismissed his star player’s penalty set-back as a “statistic” and praised his attitude in a difficult game.

“To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi’s work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him,” he said.

“Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win. Leo is very committed to Argentina.

“We always come to win so that’s why there is a certain amount of frustration.”

Argentina face Croatia next on Thursday at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (21:00 EAT).

 

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