Messi's missed penalty costly for Argentina

It promised to be one of the most important betting days of the World Cup with four matches screened almost consecutively and bookmakers were left loving an unlikely source in the battle with punters.

Lionel Messi's costly second-half penalty miss saw Argentina fail to oblige at odds of 4-11 as the South American giants were held to a 1-1 draw by World Cup debutants Iceland.

For bookmakers it was almost the nightmare scenario - a heavy favourite winning in a match where both teams score and over 2.5 goals with one of the world's most iconic footballers involved.

However, Messi's shock failure from 12 yards changed the story with bet365's Steve Freeth saying: "Clearly Argentina not winning was the best result of the tournament so far, particularly with so many multiples being knocked over.

"A lot of our customers had the four timer of favourites and plenty had the banker double of Argentina and France so to get that beat plus take the Messi money was pleasing."

It had all started so well for Argentina, who led through Sergio Aguero on 19 minutes only for Alfred Finnbogason to equalise four minutes later.

Messi had the moment to win the game but his spot-kick was saved by Hannes Halldorsson.

Betway reacted by shoving Argentina out to 11-1 to win the World Cup, while Messi is 25-1 to finish the tournament as the top goalscorer and 12-1 for the Golden Ball, the trophy allocated to the player of the finals.

Argentina failed to justify their short price and France almost flopped at 2-7 before a couple of second-half breaks saved their blushes in a 2-1 success over Australia.

A debatable penalty awarded after VAR saw Antoine Griezmann put France in front, although they were not leading for long as Mile Jedinak levelled from the spot.

However, the Aussies suffered late heartbreak with Paul Pogba's deflected effort just about creeping over the goalline to hand France a winning start, albeit in unconvincing fashion with Didier Deschamps' outfit 15-2 to win the World Cup.

Griezmann is 16-1 to finish as the top tournament goalscorer in a market headed by Portugal's hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo at 9-4.
France are 1-3 to top Group C with Denmark, who beat Peru 1-0 thanks to a Yussuf Poulsen goal, can be backed at 10-3.

Vincent Kompany is expected to return for Belgium's third match of the World Cup - against England - while Thomas Vermaelen could be involved in the second clash with Tunisia.

Match in Focus

17:55 TODAY BT2

PAOK Salonika v Chelsea

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • PAOK have won two of their last six Europa League ties
Expert verdict
Chelsea begin their Europa League journey at PAOK and their trip to Greece should prove worthwhile. The Blues have made a promising start under the attack-minded Maurizio Sarri and can outclass their Greek hosts, who were thumped 4-1 at home to Benfica in a Champions League qualifier this term.



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