Don’t blame Messi penalty miss for Argentina failures

Much will be made of the Barcelona man’s inability to convert from 12 yards but Argentina should not need a penalty to beat Iceland

Try to resist the temptation – as tantalising as it might be – to compare what Cristiano Ronaldo did for Portugal against Spain on Friday night to what befell Lionel Messi against Iceland in Moscow on Saturday afternoon.

Sure, Ronaldo scored a penalty and Messi missed one. Sure, Ronaldo banged in a stupendous free-kick and Messi put a similar kind of one over. And sure, Ronaldo hit a hat-trick and Messi drew a blank. But there is so much more going on.

Portugal – under Fernando Santos – have a high-class, settled squad with continuity in the line-up and a clearly defined method for obtaining results. They are the European champions for good reason.



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