Iceland's goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson was the hero in the FIFA World Cup tie between Argentina and Iceland as he saved a crucial Lionel Messi penalty that helped his team hold the two-time champions to a 1-1 draw at the Moscow's Spartak Stadium on Saturday. Halldorsson changed the complexion of the match when he palmed away Messi's spot kick in the 63rd minute to prevent a second Argentinian goal. Post his Herculean effort, the Iceland keeper described the moment as "dream come true." Meanwhile, he also added that he worked on psyching out the Argentine superstar by studying him thoroughly.
"I did some homework because I knew this was a situation that could come up. It was a long shot but it happened," said the Man of the Match.
"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," Halldorsson explained.
"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," remarked the Iceland keeper.
He said that the draw felt like a win for Iceland, who are making their first World Cup appearance but famously eliminated England at Euro 2016 to reach the quarter-finals.
Halldorsson said the Argentina result was similar to Iceland's draw with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal at those championships because it provided a springboard to make it to the knockout phase.
"We were playing against one of the best teams in the world who had the best player in the world," he said.
"It's especially important for us because it helped us get a point, which is important for us to reach our goal to get out of the group," Halldorsson further added.
Iceland's next opponents are Nigeria in Volgograd next Friday.
(With AFP Inputs)