Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi missed a penalty in Argentina's Fifa World Cup 2018 opener against Iceland on Saturday, June 16.JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

After Cristiano Ronaldo set the World Cup stage on fire with a hat-trick as early as in Portugal's tournament opener against Spain on Friday, June 15, all eyes were on his nemesis and Golden Boot contender Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo was on top form scoring all the goals as Fernando Santos' men held the La Roja in a six-goal thriller at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi.

The Real Madrid forward, who was heading into the tournament on the back of a third straight Champions League win, converted three of his four attempts to goal, including the late equaliser — a near-perfect free-kick that sent football fans into a tizzy.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 51st hat-trick in the Group B thriller on Friday.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Messi, who was already shouldering the burden of an entire nation, would have thus gone into Argentina's Group D opener against World Cup debutants Iceland under more pressure. '

In Moscow, despite being rallied on by a strong-Argentine crowd, the Barcelona superstar came up with an ordinary effort, which was in stark contrast to Ronaldo's dream night in Sochi.

He missed a penalty that could have won Argentina the match. A weak attempt in the 64th minute was saved by a superb Hannes Por Halldorsson - the Iceland custodian - who dived to his right to deny the legend.

An organised and stubborn Iceland defense crowded out the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who failed to get onto the scoresheet even after having 11 attempts. Messi though was surprisingly poor from the set-pieces as kept finding the Iceland wall.

Twitter users, (presumably the pro-Ronaldo ones), were quick to give out the verdict of Ronaldo vs Messi, Round 1 of Fifa World Cup. A few others were obviously frustrated by the binary comparison after just one bad performance from the Argentina captain.

Notably, Iceland had nullified a Ronaldo threat when they held Portugal to a 1-1 draw en route to an inspiring quarter-final appearance at Euro 2016.

'Tiresome binary comparisons'