Iceland News: No special plans for Messi

1 year ago

In the latest Iceland news, boss Heimir Hallgrimsson has revealed he will not be assigning one of his players to mark Lionel Messi in Saturday’s World Cup encounter.

The Strakarnir okkar made history by becoming the smallest ever nation to qualify for the global showpiece but have hardly been rewarded for topping their pool, with the Albiceleste, Croatia and Nigeria their Group D rivals.

Moscow’s Otkritie Arena plays host to Iceland’s first ever World Cup game and it could hardly be a tougher task, with Argentina their opponents.

Understandably the Europeans head into the game as the significant underdogs and can be backed at 10/1 to win the game with bet365.

Although the two-time winners struggled in qualifying, they have real tournament pedigree and of course, 2014 Player of the Tournament, Messi.

Russia 2018 is expected to be the maestro’s final World Cup and he will be keen to prove himself, having often been accused of failing to reproduce his Barcelona form for his country.

There is always the chance of something special happening with him around though, and many have tried different tactics to counter his threat.

Man-marking the 30-year-old has often been used but with largely mixed results.

Hallgrimsson insists this will not be his method of dealing with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Instead, he is happy to bank on the collective organisation of his team to counter any sort of Messi magic.

“As for Messi, I do not have any magic formulas [to stop him],” he said. “Everyone tried every method against him, but he still scores.

“Messi is a fantastic player, one of the best in the world. We will work together helping each other as a team and I think it wouldn’t be fair to assign someone to personally guard Messi.”