The Icelandic men’s national football team drew 1-1 against Argentina today at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Argentina opened the scoring after a tidy finish by Sergio Aguero inside the box after 19 minutes. Icelandic striker Alfreð Finnbogason drew Iceland level after only 4 minutes and 15 seconds had passed from Argentina's opener. Hannes Þór Halldórsson saved a penalty from Lionel Messi in the 63rd minute. Hannes Þór was voted the man of the match.
Captain Aron Einar Gunnarsson returned to side today after a lay-off due to injury. "Aron is really important for the squad. We’ve had to play without him for a while and I think I’ve seen that [have an impact] on the team.", coach Heimir Hallgrímsson commented at the pre-match press conference held yesterday.
Iceland has two remaining matches in Group D, against Nigeria and Croatia. Nigeria and Iceland will face off on the 22nd of June at 15:00 GMT (11:00 ET, 08:00 PT) in Volgograd Arena, Volgograd. The grudge match between Iceland and Croatia, Iceland’s final group match, will take place in Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, at 18:00 GMT (14:00 ET, 11:00 PT).
This is the first time Strákarnir okkar (Our Boys) takes part in the men’s FIFA World Cup. Iceland is the smallest ever nation, in terms of population, to qualify for the World Cup. Alfreð's goal against Argentina was the quickest opening goal of a debutant nation since Nigeria scored after 21 minutes at the World Cup in 1994.
The Icelandic team has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the footballing ranks as Iceland was ranked 22nd in the FIFA World Rankings entering the World Cup - after a low point of being ranked 131st in October 2012.