Moscow: Argentina were held to a draw by World Cup debutants Iceland Saturday, with Lionel Messi blowing a gilt-edged opportunity for victory when he missed a penalty.
Sergio Aguero scored an eye-catching opener for the two-time world champions in the 19th minute but it was almost immediately cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason, whose team then held on in the face of immense pressure.
It was a major embarrassment for Argentina and raises questions about their ability to claim football's biggest prize for the first time since 1986.
As Diego Maradona looked on at Moscow's Spartak stadium, Messi also failed to respond to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick for Portugal against Spain a day earlier. Messi is yet to win a major international tournament and time is running out with his 31st birthday looming.
While the result was not on the scale of that Iceland produced to eliminate England from Euro 2016, it was a major boost for the tiny nation, who retain hopes of advancing from a group that also includes Nigeria and Croatia.
The island nation of 330,000 is the smallest country to ever qualify for the finals but emphatically showed they can mix it with the heavyweights.
Here are the updates from the match:
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 16, 2018
Argentina 1-1 Iceland
FULL TIME!! Iceland stands tall, creates History.
90+4 minute: MESSI! Fails to get past the Iceland wall.
90+4 minute: Free-kick for Argentina. This is could be the last attempt at goal for Argentina in this match. The No.10 gears up to take the free-kick.
90+2 minute: That was close! but no joy for Messi as he shoots the ball with his right foot. Iceland are living on their nerves.
5 minutes of Stoppage time!
89 minute: Argentina hold the ball in Iceland's half.
86 minute: WHAT A SAVE!! Halldorsson dives to his left to a fiery shot by Pavon. Halldorsson is having the day of his life.
85 minute: Higuain crosses the ball inside the box but the defenders clear the ball away.
84 minute: Substitution for Argentina. Higuain replaces Meza.
83 minute: Argentina are up and attacking but Iceland defenders hold on.
80 minute: Messi shoots the ball towards Iceland's goalpost but misses the target.
77 minute: Iceland's defender makes contact as Argentinian Pavon goes down. Referee disregards it. NO PENALTY!
76 minute: Iceland's Gunnarsson is replaced with Skulason
75 minutes: Substitution for Argentina, Pavon replaces Di Maria.
73 minute: Iceland defenders crowd Messi inside the box as Aguero looks for space.
72 minute: Meza goes down. Free-kick for Argentina. Messi cannot get his shot past the Iceland wall.
69 minute: All eyes are on Messi, as he tries to create space up front, passes it to Banega. Banega curls the ball into the hands of the Iceland goalkeeper.
62 minute: SAVED!! Halldorsson flies to his left to save the penalty. This will go down in the history books.
62 minute: PENALTY!! Messi takes the penalty.
60 minute: Players take a breather after Iceland's Gudmundsson walks out of the pitch.
57 minute: Banega tries to have a shot at the Iceland goal but is blocked by the defenders.
55 minute: Corner for Argentina, Meza whips the ball into the box but the defenders clear it. Danger still looms on Iceland.
53 minute: Argentina's Banega replaces Biglia, in the first Substitution of the match. This Banega's first appearance at a World cup match.
50 minute: Sigurdsson tries to cross the ball from near post but is blocked by the Argentinian defender.
47 minute: Argentina win an early corner in the second half. Otamendi tries to net the ball with his header but clouds it away.
46 minute: Argentina make the first charge, as Aguero holds the ball in the box but the defenders clear the danger away.
Second-half is underway
Both Argentina and Iceland are giving away a lot of space defensively and the strikers will certainly be tempted into scoring in the second-half. Argentina have a strong bench with the likes of Dybala and Higuain, they will look to take the lead, as they go deep into the final minutes of the match.
Argentina’s Sergio Aguero opened the scoring with a stunner, his first World Cup goal, but Iceland’s Finnbogason created history for his country with an equaliser, Iceland’s first ever World Cup goal. Both sides look balanced.
Half-time Argentina 1-1 Iceland
45 minute: Sigurdsson goes for a volley but fires it wide. Good effort! Iceland are pushing Argentina defenders to get back.
43 minute: That was rare! Messi gives away a long pass from Aguero. 2 minutes to go!
41 minute: The ball hits the hand of an Iceland defender but the referee disregards- as not deliberate. NO PENALTY!
35 minute: Messi, Aguero, Dybala, three of the world's finest forwards are playing but nothing has come out of the game so far for Argentina.
34 minute: Iceland are restricting the Argentinian players for shots outside the box and are forcing them to attempt shots from distance.
32 minute: Biglia pulls-off an effort but it is off target, fails to test Iceland's goalkeeper.
27 minute: Messi continues to trouble Iceland, but Iceland hold a tight line. They seem to have prepared really well on the Argentinian player.
23 minute: Goal!!! Finnbogason taps the ball into the goal from six yards, to give Iceland their first ever World cup goal. Iceland 1-1 Argentina.
20 minute: Messi fires the ball from the left flank but right into the hands of Iceland goalkeeper Halldorsson.
19 minute: Goal!!! Sergio Aguero scores a stunner into the top corner, his first World Cup goal. Argentina 1-0 Iceland
16 minute: Messi has been busy in the Iceland penalty box but the defenders keep him quiet.
15 minute: Argentina on a counter-attack, but gives away the possession with a poor pass up front, Iceland's Finbogason flicks it away.
12 minute: Argentina's Otamendi clouds the ball from the far-post, it is a long way away from the goal.
10 minute: Messi is cramped for space by Iceland's defenders.
8 minute: That was close! Iceland striker had a clear shot on the South-American goal but misses.
7 minute: Messi flick in the ball off a free-kick, Tagliafico stoops down to head the ball towards the Iceland goal but misses by a whisker.
5 minute: Though Argentina have dominated in early minutes, Iceland hold a tight line and deny space.
3 minute: Free-kick for Argentina. Messi nearly curved in inside the Iceland goalpost.
Argentina takes on Iceland for the first time at the World Cup.
Argentina XI: Caballero; Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Biglia, Mascherano; Meza, Messi, Di María; Agüero
Substitutes: Guzmán, Armani, Mercado, Ansaldi, Fazio, Pérez, Banega, Lo Celso, Acuña, Dybala, Pavón, Higuaín
Iceland XI: Halidórsson; Saevarsson, Árnason, Sigurdsson, Mangússon; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason; Sigurdsson, Finnbogason
Substitutes: Shram, Gúnarsson, Fridjónsson, Gudmundsson, Ingason, Sigurdarson, Eyjólfsson, Skúlason, Gíslason, Traustason, Bödvarsson, Skúlason
Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman, Franco Armani, Wilfredo Caballero.
Defenders: Marco Acuna, Cristian Ansaldi, Federico Fazio, Javier Mascherano, Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Tagliafico.
Midfielders: Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Angel Di Maria, Giovani Lo Celso, Maxi Meza, Enzo Perez, Cristian Pavon.
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala
Goalkeepers: Hannes Þór Halldórsson, Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, Frederik Schram.
Defenders: Kári Árnason, Ari Freyr Skúlason, Ragnar Sigurðsson, Hörður Björgvin Magnússon, Birkir Már Sævarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson.
Midfielders: Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnór Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfreðsson, Gylfi Sigurðsson, Ólafur Ingi Skúlason, Rúrik Gíslason, Samúel Kári Friðjónsson, Aron Einar Gunnarsson.
Forwards: Alfreð Finnbogason, Jón Daði Böðvarsson, Björn Bergmann Sigurðarson, Albert Guðmundsso