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Liberman: Messi missed penalty because Argentina cancelled Israel game

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Iceland players celebrate while England players show dejection

Arab Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi also linked the miss to the withdrawal from the Israel game, tweeting a poll asking "Who was happier that Messi missed his penalty today?"

The Barcelona star had created the game's first moment of danger when, with six minutes gone, his free kick bounced off a defender and span wide.

Iceland sits deep and packs the center, and when there is no space it is very hard for anybody to play.

Social media also pointed out Messi's poor conversion rate when it comes to penalties. It might also be pointed out that when Iceland drew 1-1 with Portugal at Euro 2016, Ronaldo had 10 shots and did not score; here Messi had 11 and also did not score.

While Argentina controlled the ball for large stretches, they held steady at the back, and with 20 minutes remaining the situation was summed up when Banega curled a hopeful, rather than unsafe, shot towards the 'keeper from outside the box.

Iceland's starting XI. Man-to-man, they were excellent as Iceland packed the midfield, kept their shape and defended in numbers for 90 minutes.

"We were playing against one of the best teams in the world who had the best player in the world", he said. Will coach Jorge Sampaoli now take Messi off penalty duties after his third miss for Argentina? Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson marshalled his defence with intelligence and panache, leaving little room for Messi to slip in.

Then Iceland's defence kicked in, keeping nearly the entire team behind the ball and swarming the Argentina attackers, especially Lionel Messi.

Argentina's opener arrived after a glaring miss at the other end, the late-arriving Birkir Bjarnason carelessly pushing a side-footed effort wide of the target when the ball had broken kindly into his path.

Argentina were much smoother on the ball, as to be expected when a team contains players the calibre of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, but there were plenty of warnings signs as well. "We have some days to rest and get well-prepared for the match", said the skipper.

Despite Argentina's dominance, Iceland held on valiantly to not concede.

In a frenetic match, Argentina were the main aggressors going forward, but were unable to regain the advantage and will have to dust themselves before their encounter against Croatia on Thursday. Croatia and Nigeria are bound to pose challenges of their own.

"We've shown that if we work together as one unit, like we've been doing, then anything is achievable and it won't come as a shock", he said. If we want a result we have to play in a special way, our way, organised, with everyone knowing their role. His eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, saved his team's blushes with a last minute freekick.

"It was a long shot but it happened", he said after the tie at Moscow's Spartak Stadium.

"We wanted to start by winning because that would have calmed us.The idea is the same, we have to win the next two games". "I can't see where all the Argentinians bought their tickets". "That is going to be a celebration".

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