Lionel Messi
Can Lionel Messi help Argentina make a winning start?JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

Hello and welcome to the highlights of Group D opener of Fifa World Cup 2018 between Argentina and Iceland from Spartak Stadium, Moscow.

Live Updates

2018-06-1620:28 (IST)

Full time: Iceland 1-1 Argentina

Argentina had 72% of the possession but Iceland maintained excellent shape and composure to thwart attacks from some of the best in the world. 

The Albiceleste had 26 attempts on goal but managed to get only seven on target. Only one, from Sergio Aguero, went in. 

On the other hand, Iceland convert one of their three shots on goal. What a night for Alfred Finnbogason. The youngster hit Iceland's first World Cup finals goal, an equaliser against mighty Argentina.

Full-time: Lionel Messi hits the wall again in the last attempt of the match!

Iceland have clinched a historic draw. One point in their first World Cup game against the two-time champions. Some effort this. Time for the Viking claps. 

The Nordic nation put on a valiant, organized defensive show after getting the equalizer in the first half. They had men to crowd out Messi wonderfully well. 

And what an effort from Iceland goalkeeper, HALLDORSSON. Denying the world's best player from the spot and stretching himself to the limits to prevent an Argentina lead throughout the second half. 

Messi had 10 shots on goal and converted nil. At the end of Messi vs Ronaldo, first round...

2018-06-1620:22 (IST)

Five minutes added on

Iceland aren't looking to attack but are going to be happy with a 1-1 scoreline. They have five more minutes to fend off Argentina challenges. 

2018-06-1620:21 (IST)

89 min: Iceland make another change

Goals-scorer Finnbogason is replaced by Sigurdarson. The youngster walks off to a standing ovation. 

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Halldorsson is keeping it 1-1. The diving effort to deny Pavon may prove to be a decisive moment in the match. 

Pavon curled one into the box from the left and it headed towards the goal after missing everybody but Halldorsson'sfingertipss. 

2018-06-1620:16 (IST)

84 minute: Argentina make one final change

Gonzalo Higuain comes in for Meza. Argentina are able to keep up the pressure, relentless pressure. Iceland, it seems, have parked their bus. Will be interesting to see how long they can hold on. 

2018-06-1620:13 (IST)

77 min: Cristian Pavon replaces Di Maria, goes down inside the box

Pavon goes down inside the box. There was contact from Saevarsson but it seemed the Argentine forward over-reacted. No card, no penalty. 

Cristian Pavon has replaced Angel di Maria while Ari Skulason comes on for Aron Gunnarsson. 

2018-06-1620:05 (IST)

Messi's poor conversation rate from the spot

Lionel Messi failed to convert 5 of his last 10 penalty kicks (club and country).

2018-06-1619:57 (IST)

63 min: Messi misses penalty!

Messi takes a poor penalty, lifts it towards his left only to see Halldorsson fly across and palm it away. Disappointment for Argentina fans, relief for the Icelanders. Will this prove costly for the Argentines? 

Meanwhile, more Messi vs Ronaldo on Twitter. 

 63 min; Iceland replace injured Gudmundsson with Gisalsson. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:51 (IST)

Diego Maradona has joined the electrifying atmosphere

Argentina legend Diego Maradona is at the stands, cheering for his team. 

2018-06-1619:49 (IST)

54 min: Argentina make the first change

Ever Banega replaces Lucas Bigila. Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero's powerful shot from just outside the box is blocked. Nothing comes off the corner. 

2018-06-1619:46 (IST)

50 min: It's 1-1 as Argentina continue to dominate possession

Iceland nearly took the lead. They once again are bothered about possession but were able to give Argentina some nervy moments in the final third. Bjarnason puts a dangerous cross from the left and Finnbogason, the goal-scorer, couldn't get to it as he stood statue-esque in front of the goal. 

Similar to the first-half, Argentina have all the possession but they are not able to make good use of it. 

Argentina have the first corner of the second half. Angel Di Maria delivers a good ball but Otamendi hits it wide. 

2018-06-1619:27 (IST)

Half-time: ARG 1-1 ISL

Half-time: An excellent half of football. Argentina had all the possession, 74% of it. They had six corners in the first 45 minutes but the score-line at the break reads 1-1.

Sergio Aguero gave Argentina the early lead with a left-footed bullet from inside the box. Iceland though replied just four minutes after conceding as Finnbogason slotted in a rebound after some careless defending from Otamendi & Co. 

Argentina maintained attacking dominance even after conceding but they weren't able to be decisive in the final third, courtesy some good defending from Iceland. They have not offered any space to Lionel Messi, who was exceptionally marked by Hallfredsson and Gunnarsson. 

Can Messi break free?

2018-06-1619:18 (IST)

Argentina claim hand-ball

43 min: Argentina are screaming into the referee's face, claiming a hand-ball off R Sigurdsson. The cross from Meza hit the defenders hand but the Polish referee ruled it out saying it was not a deliberate attempt. 

Argentina settle for a corner and Meza takes it. Nothing comes off it. 

2018-06-1619:08 (IST)

Argentina press in search of lead

33 min: Lucas Bigila's long-range effort flies past the woodwork. Argentina are relentless but the defence is all over the place. 

Meanwhile, Iceland are showcasing the same fighting abilities that took them to the quarter-final of Euro 2016 in France. 

Messi, who is being marked wonderfully well by the Icelandic defenders, needs to find a way to take control again. 

2018-06-1618:57 (IST)

Iceland's reply four minutes after conceding

23: Goal! Iceland score, Finnbogason scores their World Cup goal. It's against Argentina and it's an equaliser. A lot of chaos inside the box but the youngster kept his calm to slam it past Caballero. 

What a moment for the youngster. Just when Jorge Sampaoli's men were beginning to take control and trouble the Icelandic defense with some threatening attacking play, Finnbogason does it for the minnows. 

Iceland have scored with the first shot on target at the World Cup!

2018-06-1618:51 (IST)

Sergio Aguero gives Argentina the early lead

19 min: Goal! Sergio Aguero puts Argentina in the lead with a thunder strike from inside the box. 

Rojo tried a long-range effort but it was going nowhere before Aguero took it inside the penalty area before making space for himself and blasting it into the net with his left foot.

2018-06-1618:43 (IST)

Early drama in Moscow

9 min: Brikir Bjarnason gets a big opportunity to put Iceland in front. The Argentine defence conceded possession just outside the box as Gudmundsson shot towards goal was deflected towards the former, who missed an easy chance. Disappointment for Iceland fans!

Great start to the match, open football on show. Messi got a couple of free-kicks and one of them, deflected from Tagliafico, nearly went in. 

Iceland are hitting on the counter. Argentina need to be aware. Their backline is not the best in the business anymore. 

2018-06-1618:36 (IST)

Free-kick for Argentina

4 min: Free kick for Argentina. Lionel Messi, as expected takes it from the left. Nothing comes off it. 

2018-06-1618:35 (IST)

Argentina begin quest to end 32-year wait

1 min: Argentina begin their search for a third World Cup title in Russia as the referee signals the start of the Group D match. 

2018-06-1618:28 (IST)

Huge roar for Messi at the Spartak Stadium

The two teams are out in the middle. The national anthems are being played. As expected, a lot of Argentina supporters in the stands. 

A huge roar of Messi as the panning television camera stops for a brief moment to capture the Barcelona forward's emotions. 

2018-06-1618:25 (IST)

The GOAT debate has already begun

It is being widely reported that Ronaldo's gesture of stroking his chin after scoring against Spain was just to let the world know that he is The Greatest of All Time. 

Even before Messi could come up with some magic today, Twitter has made the verdict. 

2018-06-1618:12 (IST)

Can Messi emulate Ronaldo and Costa?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa were in imperious form yesterday. While the former scored a hat-trick, the latter got a double. 

All eyes will be on Messi as the race for the Golden Boot has already heated up. 

Earlier in the day, Manchester United star Paul Pogba also joined the race after scoring a winning goal in France's Group C tie against Australia. Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring from the spot in the second half after which Mile Jedinak equalised, again converting a penalty. 

The much-debated VAR was used in the match today. Here's my colleague, Deepak Vikraman's thoughts on the referral technology. 

Also, 12 years ago, on this day, Messi had scored his first World Cup goal. It came in Argentina's 6-0 win over Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. 

2018-06-1618:02 (IST)

Have a look at the teams. Can Argentina clinch comfortable win?

Argentina (4-2-3-1): Cabellero, Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo; Tagliafico, Biglia, Mascherano; Meza, Messi, Di Maria, Aguero.

Iceland (4-4-1-1): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Srigudsson, Magnusson; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason; G Sigurdsson; Finnboason. 

Notably, Jorge Sampaoli had named his line-up as early as yesterday. Former Spanish international Luis Garcia and India legend Baichung Bhutia defend the Argentine coach's decision, saying it has given the players clarity ahead of the big match. 

2018-06-1616:29 (IST)

Di Maria, Aguero start Argentina's World Cup opener

Argentina's starting line-up was confirmed as early as on Friday by Jorge Sampaoli. 

Argentina (confirmed): Caballero; Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Biglia, Mascherano, Meza; Messi, Di Maria; Aguero.

2018-06-1616:28 (IST)

Massive support for Argentina expected

We have begun our coverage for the match a little earlier than normal. Argentina fans in Moscow had reached the Spartak Stadium, hours in advance. 

Check out the scenes outside the venue below. 

2018-06-1616:25 (IST)

Iceland set to make World Cup finals debut

Iceland, arguably the team of Euro 2016, will be facing a huge test in their first-ever World Cup finals tie. The return of Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from an injury layoff just in time for the biggest showdown is a big boost to the European side.

Iceland surprised quite a few with their well-organised approach against top teams, including Portugal and England at the continental competition two years ago. While they held the Ronaldo-led side in the group stages, the spirited unit booted out England in the Round of 16.

2018-06-1616:25 (IST)

Can Lionel Messi give Argentina a winning start?

We're a couple of hours away from the big match of the day. Lionel Messi will start his fourth World Cup campaign, still in search of the elusive title in Moscow. 

With the man himself saying that his World Cup future will depend on the La Albiceleste's performance in Russia, the South American giants will be hoping for a strong start on Saturday.

Argentina had an ordinary qualifying campaign, during which they had played under three different coaches. However, Jorge Sampaoli helped Argentina, who in danger of missing a Russia berth regroup, as Lionel Messi struck a hat-trick against Ecuador in October last year.

With defeats to Spain and Nigeria, Argentina haven't been in their best form in the lead-up to the quadrennial tournament but they will be hoping for a fresh start in Moscow.