Diego Maradona accused of making racist gesture at Argentina match
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 17, 2018,
Jun 17, 2018, 11:45
Argentina kick off their World Cup and they will just be happy to be in Russian Federation following an underwhelming qualifying campaign that was salvaged by a Lionel Messi hat trick in their final game.
He briefly retired from worldwide football after the 2016 Copa America and has hinted he will do so permanently if the campaign in Russian Federation ends in failure.
Messi is well and truly contemplating his retirement after this tournament but Saturday's terrible start was far from a fairytale.
He ripped off his captain's armband at full-time and offered little more than a blank stare as Iceland's players acknowledged his presence.
Federation Internationale de Football Association announced Wednesday that the men's 2026 World Cup rights have been awarded to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and the news is drawing mixed reactions. Messi's role in the journey is expected to be that much more crucial.
The friendly match was originally set to be held in the Samy Ofer Stadium in the coastal city of Haifa but was moved last month to the capital's Teddy Kollek Stadium after "intense political pressure", the Hadashot news television channel reported at the time.
With Ronaldo scoring a good penalty on Friday, his fans got a chance to troll Messi for missing another and his record with penalties over the last few times does not help the Argentine.
I have no doubt that a goal from the penalty kick would have changed everything.
I imagine Ronaldo took another sip of his fizzy drink when Messi failed to put the attempt on goal. Messi placed his shot to the right of Hannes Halldorsson, but the Iceland goalkeeper dived and got two hands behind the ball.
Asked by TASS whether Iceland will be back in Moscow for the final match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match, Gyfil Sigurdsson said "I don't expect so, but it would be a miracle if we are".
"It's going to be a very hard match", Modric said afterwards.
"There are no minnows any more in football and that was what Iceland showed us today", the 1995 African Footballer of the year told CSN from Russian Federation in a chat. "Leo is very important for the team".
Argentina were too ponderous in midfield and lacked creativity, coach Jorge Sampaoli said in a blunt assessment of their failure to beat Iceland in their opening World Cup match on Saturday. That will be his one huge motto.