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Men's Football Iceland's Halldorsson knew where Messi's penalty was going

IF THERE is one flaw in Lionel Messi’s genius, it might be his failure to score penalties in big games.

Add Messi’s saved attempt against Iceland on Saturday at the World Cup to misses for Argentina in shoot-outs for the Copa America title and for Barcelona in a Champions League semi-final match that was later lost.

At least Messi’s miss in the 64th minute at Spartak Stadium — his fourth in his last seven penalty attempts for his club and his country — was not in a losing cause. 

A 1-1 draw with impressive World Cup newcomer Iceland is far from a fatal blow to Argentina’s chances of advancing from a well-balanced group that also includes Croatia and Nigeria.

“It hurt missing the penalty. It could have given us the lead and that could have changed the match,” Messi said. “It would have changed their game plan too. They probably would open a little bit more and we could get more space.”

Messi placed his shot to the right of Hannes Halldorsson but the Iceland goalkeeper dived and got two hands behind the ball.

“I did my homework. I looked at a lot of penalties from Messi,” Halldorsson said. “I had a good feeling that he would go this way today.”

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