Royals striker Jón Daði Böðvarsson was on the bench at the Spartak Stadium on Saturday – one of the best seats in the house to witness Iceland’s spectacular 1-1 draw against a star-studded Argentina side!
We’re still in the first round of group games, but this year’s World Cup is already throwing up some scintillating and compelling fixtures… and Böðvarsson’s compatriots produced one of the results of the tournament so far.
Having never been to a World Cup finals before, Iceland could hardly have wished for a more testing start than facing the two-time winners of the tournament. And it was always going to be an uphill struggle when Sergio Agüero found the top corner on the swivel to put the South Americans ahead after 19 minutes.
But, like many of the underdogs in the tournament, Iceland were unbowed – and struck back almost immediately.
Alfreð Finnbogason, selected ahead of Böðvarsson as the sole striker for the fixture, levelled just four minutes later; the Augsburg forward showed composure to turn in after former Royal Gylfi Sigurðsson saw his cross-shot palmed away Chelsea stopper Willy Caballero.
The drama didn’t end there. Defender Hördur Björgvin Magnússon was penalised for climbing on Agüero as he defended a ball into the box – and after consultation with VAR, a penalty was awarded.
Up stepped Lionel Messi… but goalkeeper Hannes Thór Halldórsson, a former film director, ripped up the script and clawed away the spot-kick!
One game played, one point earned. Two more matches at least and hopefully a chance to see Jón Daði making his presence felt in the biggest sporting event in the world. Nigeria, who lost to Croatia in their opening game, are up next in Volgograd on Friday, before the final group game against the Croats in Rostov on Tuesday 26th June.