It was a great day for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s Iceland on Saturday as his nation claimed an unlikely point against tournament hopefuls Argentina. Sergio Aguero’s opener was cancelled out by an equaliser from Alfred Finnbogason, with little-known player Lionel Messi missing a second half penalty.
How did the game unfold?
Unfortunately, Dadi-less. Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrímsson picked a side that included Reading heart-throb Gylfi Sigurdsson - who became the first Royals academy graduate to play in the World Cup - but there was no room for Bodvarsson.
Iceland XI: Halldórsson, Saevarsson, Árnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnússon, Berg Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason, G Sigurdsson, Finnbogason
With 19 minutes on the clock, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero found the net for the first time at the World Cup, scoring this sweet strike:
GOAL! Aguero controls the ball impeccably, spins and fires in his first ever World Cup goal with a rocket of a left-foot shot pic.twitter.com/yKiHHEuf7r— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 16, 2018
However, the Argentine lead would only last for four minutes, with Finnbogason touching home from close range after a dangerous Gylfi cross.
GOAL! Caballero fails to collect a cross-come-shot from Sigurdsson and Finnbogason taps in to send the Iceland fans wild pic.twitter.com/eYoGKlOrmt— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 16, 2018
Despite their talented XI, Argentina struggled to break down a resolute Iceland side who were well-drilled into a solid 4-4-2. Think Burnley, but with more names ending in “son”. Messi’s side went on to register a whopping 78% possession and 27 shots in the match, but couldn’t find another way past a goalkeeper who, before playing professional footie, used to be a film director and worked on Iceland’s 2012 Eurovision entry.
Side note - it wasn’t the catchiest of tunes, and had the kind of dark, depressing tone that reminds of you of Reading’s 2017/18 campaign.
Although Argentina were given a glorious chance to make it 2-1 on 64 minutes, ‘keeper Halldórsson flung himself to his right to deny Messi and keep the scores level at 1-1. Gritty Iceland, who held out for the rest of the game, replaced injured goal-scorer Finnbogason on 89 minutes - former Reading target Bjorn Sigurdarsson coming on rather than actual Reading player Bodvarsson.
Iceland’s next game comes against Nigeria on Friday at 4pm (UK time). Although Iceland probably aren’t expected to make it out of the group, they would go a long way towards progression with three points over the Super Eagles - who are due to face Croatia at time of writing.
As for Dadi, he could be in line for match action should Finnbogason’s injury keep him out of the next match - particularly if Iceland opt to go two up top.