Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson says he got into Lionel Messi's head for Argentina penalty

The goalkeeper denied Messi from the spot midway through the second half in Moscow

Mark Critchley
Saturday 16 June 2018 19:33 BST
Argentina World Cup profile

Iceland’s Hannes Halldorsson admitted that he attempted to get into Lionel Messi’s head before successfully saving the Argentina forward’s penalty.

The goalkeeper denied Messi from the spot midway through the second half of the 1-1 World Cup draw in Moscow, diving low to his right.

Halldorsson “had a feeling” that Messi would choose to shoot that way after researching the Barcelona forward’s previous penalties.

“I did some homework because I knew this was a situation that could come up. It was a long shot but it happened,” said Halldorsson.

“I looked at a lot of penalties from Messi and I also looked at how I’ve been behaving during the last couple of penalties.

“I tried to get in their minds, so they’d be thinking about me. I had a good feeling he’d go this way today.”

Iceland subsequently held out to claim a draw in their first World Cup appearance and boost their hopes of qualifying from Group D.

Halldorsson and his team-mates – quarter-finalists at the European Championship two years ago – greeted the final whistle with jubilant celebrations.

“It is a big draw for us, we felt at last Euros how important it is to get on the board right away if we are going to reach our goal to qualify,” the goalkeeper said.

“We were playing against one of the best teams in the world, against the best players in the world, in our first World Cup.”

Halldorsson went on to compare the result to Iceland’s 1-1 draw with Portugal at Euro 2016.

“Exactly the same as in the Euros, we celebrated a point against Cristiano Ronaldo as we did against Messi.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in