Saturday 24 August 2019

World Cup player watch: Moment for minnows as Iceland arrive on world stage

The latest in a daily look at what the players are up to in Russia sees some proud Icelanders and a heartwarming gesture by the England team.

Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson salutes the fans after the final whistle (Tim Goode/EMPICS)
Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson salutes the fans after the final whistle (Tim Goode/EMPICS)

By Press Association Sport staff

It was all about the little guys on day three of the 2018 World Cup, as Iceland and Peru took their turns in Russia.

The stars of the side that drew 1-1 with Lionel Messi’s Argentina were rightfully delighted at the result, and were quick to praise the supporters for their magnificent show in Moscow.

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Did you get that ?! So proud of this team!

A post shared by Alfreð Finnbogason (@alfredfinnbogason) on

The Argentines were understandably a little less enthusiastic, and as Twitter mocked their display, goalkeeper Willy Caballero took to Instagram to defend their efforts – saying that while it was not the result they wanted, they had “tried until the last minute”.

Meanwhile Sergio Aguero, who scored the opener, somewhat charitably said “we deserved more but it did not happen”.

Lionel Messi’s penalty miss perhaps summed up the Argentina performance, but where Leo faltered, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up. The Portuguese was rightly delighted with his hat-trick from the previous night’s 3-3 draw with Spain, posting: “Happy to have been voted best on the field. Good teamwork!”

Defender Pepe echoed the sentiment, praising: “The work of a team and the persistance of a captain!”

Like Argentina, France struggled against supposedly-lesser opposition in the form of Australia, who were unfortunate to lose to a goal dubiously awarded to Paul Pogba and a penalty perhaps even more controversially awarded by VAR.

The Socceroos were justifiably proud of their showing in the 2-1 defeat, with Tim Cahill – who watched on from the bench – tweeting: “Amazing performance by the lads today. Captain was fantastic and lead the team well as always. We deserved the draw. We will pick ourselves up and get ready for our next game now.”

Pogba dedicated the win to his father, who died just over a year ago – and showed the shin pads he wore in his honour.

Uruguay took a leaf out of England’s book and celebrated their late win over Egypt by going bowling.

Meanwhile, back at the Three Lions’ camp, the Tottenham gang were clearly spending too much time together.

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Danny hurts my feelings sometimes

A post shared by Eric Dier (@ericdier15) on

There was also pause for a little light relief from training as Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold chatted with a fan who covered his south London estate with England flags.

(In case you’re wondering, this is the one they’re talking about…)

England flags adorn the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, London (Victoria Jones/PA)

And finally, if you thought there was pressure on the England team, try playing for Nigeria, who were reminded hours before kick-off that their President will be watching.

PA Media

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