Dogged Iceland makes life difficult for Argentina

Iceland and Argentina went in at half-time with the score locked 1-1.

Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring Argentina's first goal against Iceland.   -  AP

A perfect example of a David vs Goliath battle, the first half of Argentina's World Cup opener against Iceland played out in the way it was pretty much expected to. Iceland allowed Argentina to have a vast majority of the ball possession, choosing to sit deep (at times with all 10 outfield players behind the ball) and deny space to Lionel Messi and co. This tactic worked for the most part, with La Albiceleste forced to pass laterally and relying on Messi's magic to carve out an opening.  

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The breakthrough came courtesy of Sergio Aguero's wizardry inside the box in the 18th minute. The Manchester City forward was fortuitous to get the ball at his feet, with Marcos Rojo having attempted a shot of his own from outside the box. Once he got the ball at his feet, Aguero took a touch, made space, shifted the ball to his left foot and let fly a ferocious strike. This was Aguero's first World Cup goal.

Alfred Finnbogason came up with the equaliser just four minutes later, making the most of an anxious Argentina defence and side-footing a loose ball past a helpless Willy Caballero in Argentina goal. Towards the fag end of the half, Gylfi Sigurdsson had a great opportunity to put Iceland ahead, indicating the attacking threat Iceland carried despite sitting deep in its half.

Starting as a massive underdog, Iceland, making its World Cup debut, succeeded in its tactic to frustrate Argentina by sitting deep and then making good use of longballs to cause havoc in the opposition box.

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