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World Cup 2018: Debutants Iceland hold Argentina to 1-1 draw

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Lionel Messi's bid to win the World Cup got of..

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Lionel Messi's bid to win the World Cup got off to a nightmare start as he missed a penalty and his Argentina side were surprisingly held by debutants Iceland.

Messi was looking to match the impact his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo has made on the tournament – a sensational hat-trick against Spain on Friday night.

But instead of being the hero, Messi was the villain as his second-half spot-kick was easily saved by Hannes Halldorsson with the score at 1-1.

The draw was no less than Iceland, who are the smallest nation ever to play in a World Cup finals, deserved.

Their disciplined, defensive tactics frustrated an Argentina side who enjoyed the majority of possession and they also carried a threat going forward from the start, with Birkir Bjarnason scuffing a glorious early chance.

After surviving that scare, the thousands of Argentina fans who packed out the Spartak Stadium were dancing in the Moscow sunshine when Sergio Aguero put them ahead with a superb strike after 19 minutes.

But Jorge Sampaoli's side have a soft centre and their lead lasted only four minutes and 15 seconds, as Alfred Finnbogason equalised with his country's first goal at a World Cup finals.

Finnbogason had made a hash of a header seconds earlier but Argentina failed to clear and Willy Caballero could only palm Hordur Magnusson's shot into the path of the striker, who gleefully turned it home.

Messi's missed penalty was Argentina's only clear-cut chance in the second half, although Cristian Pavon's bouncing cross drew a fine late save from Halldorsson.

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Messi could not provide the inspiration Argentina craved

All eyes were on Messi from the moment he walked into the Spartak Stadium, with the Argentina fans roaring their approval whenever his image flashed up on the big screen before the game, but he could not provide the inspiration they craved.

It was not for a lack of effort, or a shortage of attempts on goal, but the image of the Barcelona star that summed up his day was one of dejection, when he was left staring at the ground at the final whistle, with his hands on his knees.

He had been left to wander by Iceland, who did not try to man-mark him, but there were only flitting moments when he threatened to work his magic, with his best moment a first-half shot palmed away by Halldorsson.

Messi did provide the floated cross that led to Argentina's penalty after Maximiliano Meza was fouled by Magnusson, but he will want to forget what happened next.

Good save or not by Halldorsson, you do not expect Messi to miss from the spot on this stage.

He cannot afford to be as wasteful again if Argentina are to go deep into this tournament, especially with their fragile-looking defence.

Messi turns 31 later this month and is at his fourth World Cup, possibly his last chance for global glory to go with his spectacular achievements at club level with Barcelona.

If he is to lift Argentina to similar heights, and win his first international title, he will need some help.

Against Iceland, he got it from Aguero – who put Argentina ahead with a masterful finish.

The Manchester City striker brilliantly controlled Marcos Rojo's driven cross, then span away from his marker before burying his shot high in the net – his side's only quality moment in front of goal.

Iceland used to punching above their weight

The minnows had already tamed – not to mention annoyed – Ronaldo when they held Portugal in the group stage at Euro 2016, and this performance against Messi and co. was a reminder of how they reached the quarter-finals in France.

Heimir Hallgrimsson's side are used to punching above their weight, as England famously found out two years ago, and Argentina are simply their latest victims.

They arguably could have had more than a single point if they had made the most of their first half chances, the best of which was Bjarnason's miss when the ball ran into his path at the far post, but he failed to find the target.

The second half was more of a test of their renowned defensive resilience but if Argentina look to the individual brilliance of Messi to provide a spark, Iceland's strength is definitely as a collective unit.

Their fans were confident before the game, about both facing Argentina and getting out of Group D, and this performance more than justified their optimism.

Through sheer weight of numbers, Argentina's supporters did succeed in drowning out the famous 'Thunderclap' whenever it was aired at the Spartak Stadium, but it was the Iceland fans who were celebrating at the end.

Man of the Match – Hannes Halldorsson (Iceland)

Hannes Halldorsson celebrates Iceland's first ever World Cup point

What next?

Argentina play Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod on 21 June, while Iceland take on Nigeria in Volgograd the following day.

Messi's penalty woes

  • Argentina failed to win their opening match at a World Cup tournament for the first time since losing to Cameroon in 1990. They eventually reached the final of that edition, losing out to Germany.
  • This was Iceland's first ever World Cup game – Senegal were the last side to win on their debut in the competition (vs France in 2002), while Croatia were the last European side to do so (vs Jamaica in 1998).
  • Iceland failed to record a single shot in the second half, while Argentina had 16 attempts on Iceland's goal in that period.
  • Argentina have missed their last two penalties taken at a World Cup finals (excluding shootouts), with Ariel Ortega failing to convert against Sweden in 2002 before Messi's effort today.
  • Argentina forward Messi had 11 shots in total in this match, more than he's had in any of his previous appearances at the World Cup.
  • Javier Mascherano made his 144th appearance for Argentina, overtaking Javier Zanetti as their most capped player.
  • Argentina's Aguero scored his first ever World Cup goal, in what was his ninth appearance across three tournaments in the competition.
  • Finnbogason's goal was Iceland's first ever at the World Cup, with what was also their first shot on target in the competition.
  • The Iceland forward's goal after 23 minutes was the earliest scored for a nation playing in their first ever World Cup match since Rashidi Yekini netted after 21 minutes for Nigeria against Bulgaria on June 21st 1994.
  • Messi has missed four of the last seven penalties he's taken for club and country (excluding shootouts).

Line-ups

Argentina

  • 23Caballero
  • 18Salvio
  • 17Otamendi
  • 16Rojo
  • 3Tagliafico
  • 14Mascherano
  • 5BigliaSubstituted forBanegaat 54'minutes
  • 13MezaSubstituted forHiguaínat 84'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 11Di MaríaSubstituted forPavónat 75'minutes
  • 19Agüero

Substitutes

  • 1Guzmán
  • 2Mercado
  • 4Ansaldi
  • 6Fazio
  • 7Banega
  • 8Acuña
  • 9Higuaín
  • 12Armani
  • 15Pérez
  • 20Lo Celso
  • 21Dybala
  • 22Pavón

Iceland

  • 1Halldórsson
  • 2Saevarsson
  • 14Árnason
  • 6R Sigurdsson
  • 18Magnússon
  • 7Berg GudmundssonSubstituted forGíslasonat 63'minutes
  • 17GunnarssonSubstituted forAF Skúlasonat 76'minutes
  • 20Hallfredsson
  • 8Bjarnason
  • 10G Sigurdsson
  • 11FinnbogasonSubstituted forSigurdarsonat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Fridjónsson
  • 4Gudmundsson
  • 5Ingason
  • 9Sigurdarson
  • 12Schram
  • 13Rúnarsson
  • 15Eyjólfsson
  • 16OI Skúlason
  • 19Gíslason
  • 21Traustason
  • 22Bödvarsson
  • 23AF Skúlason
Referee:
Szymon Marciniak
Attendance:
44,190

Match Stats

Home TeamArgentinaAway TeamIceland

Possession
Home78%
Away22%
Shots
Home27
Away8
Shots on Target
Home7
Away2
Corners
Home10
Away2
Fouls
Home10
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Argentina 1, Iceland 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Argentina 1, Iceland 1.

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Lionel Messi (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Emil Hallfredsson (Iceland).

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Eduardo Salvio.

Foul by Javier Mascherano (Argentina).

Emil Hallfredsson (Iceland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Iceland. Björn Sigurdarson replaces Alfred Finnbogason because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Javier Mascherano (Argentina) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Eduardo Salvio.

Foul by Javier Mascherano (Argentina).

Gylfi Sigurdsson (Iceland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kári Árnason (Iceland).

Substitution

Substitution, Argentina. Gonzalo Higuaín replaces Maximiliano Meza.

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Maximiliano Meza.

Attempt blocked. Cristian Pavón (Argentina) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nicolás Tagliafico.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Eduardo Salvio.

Foul by Maximiliano Meza (Argentina).

Emil Hallfredsson (Iceland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Birkir Már Saevarsson.

Substitution

Substitution, Iceland. Ari Freyr Skúlason replaces Aron Gunnarsson.

Substitution

Substitution, Argentina. Cristian Pavón replaces Ángel Di María.

Foul by Nicolás Tagliafico (Argentina).

Rúrik Gíslason (Iceland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Maximiliano Meza (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Birkir Bjarnason (Iceland).

Attempt saved. Éver Banega (Argentina) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nicolás Tagliafico.

Foul by Javier Mascherano (Argentina).

Rúrik Gíslason (Iceland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Eduardo Salvio (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Maximiliano Meza.

Corner, Iceland. Conceded by Nicolás Otamendi.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Lionel Messi (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Birkir Bjarnason (Iceland).

Éver Banega (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland).

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Maximiliano Meza.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Ragnar Sigurdsson.

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BBC

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Latin America

Three abducted Catholic clergy released in Haiti

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Three members of the Catholic clergy kidnapped in Haiti earlier month this have been released, officials say.

But seven other people – including a French nun and a French priest – abducted in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets remain in captivity.

The kidnappers had demanded $1m (£722,000) as a ransom payment after they seized the group on 11 April.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse has vowed to “do everything the law allows” to secure their release.

“Three of the seven clergy kidnapped on April 11 were released,” Father Loudger Mazile, spokesman for the Bishop’s Conference of the island nation, told the AFP on Thursday.

“The French were not released. There were no lay people among those released,” he said.

It is not known whether any ransom has been paid.

The attack happened when the Catholic clergy were on their way to the installation of a new parish priest.

A police source told AFP that a gang calling itself 400 Mazowo was most probably behind the abduction.

Kidnappings have surged in Haiti, with the Catholic Church describing the situation as “a descent into hell”.

While at first well-off business people were the main targets, victims have come from all walks of life. Religious groups have not been spared.

On 1 April, armed men burst into a service at an evangelical church on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and abducted the pastor and three other people. The service was being live-streamed on social media at the time.

The four were released three days later after an undisclosed sum was paid in ransom but the brazenness of kidnapping a pastor in the middle of a service shocked many Haitians.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56854273

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Latin America

Coronavirus: What’s behind Latin America’s oxygen shortages?

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Before the clinic ran out of oxygen, Maria Auxiliadora da Cruz had been showing encouraging signs of progress against Covid-19. On 14 January, her oxygen levels had been above the normal level of 95% but, within hours of being deprived of that vital resource, her stats plummeted to 35%.

At this point, patients would normally be given intubation and oxygen by machine. Instead, the 67-year-old retired nurse died. “It was horrible,” her grieving daughter-in-law Thalita Rocha told the BBC. “It was a catastrophe. Many elderly patients began to deteriorate and turn blue.”

In an emotional video that went viral on social media, she described what was happening at Policlínica Redenção in the northern Brazilian city of Manaus. “We’re in a desperate situation. An entire emergency unit has simply run out of oxygen… A lot of people are dying.”

Brazil has the world’s second-highest Covid death toll with more than 221,000 fatalities. In Manaus, the health system has collapsed twice during the pandemic and deaths doubled between December and January.

Now there are fears the lack of oxygen supplies seen there could unfold elsewhere in Brazil and even in other parts of Latin America, where a second wave of Covid-19, in many countries, is proving to be worse than the first one.

In Peru, some hospitals have been unable to meet the demand brought by a steep rise in cases in recent weeks. As a result, patients’ relatives have had to hunt for oxygen in the black market. In some cases, they come back with nothing.

A black market is also thriving in Mexico, where more than 155,000 have died in the pandemic. To make things worse, there have been reports of thieves taking oxygen cylinders from hospitals and clinics.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) one in five Covid-19 patients will require oxygen. In severe cases, this rises to three in five. The organisation says some hospitals have seen demand for oxygen increase between five and seven times above normal levels because of the influx of patients with severe and critical disease.

The most dramatic situation in the world is in Brazil, where nearly 340,000 oxygen cylinders are needed every day, according to the Covid-19 Oxygen Needs tracker. The online tool helps estimate the scale of the challenge for policymakers and was developed by the Covid-19 Respiratory Care Response Coordination partnership which includes Path and Every Breath Counts.

Also according to the tracker, Mexico and Colombia each need more than 100,000 cylinders daily.

So how does a hospital run out of oxygen?

Oxygen has been considered an essential medicine by the WHO since 2017, but Lisa Smith, from Path’s market dynamics program, says ensuring adequate supply depends on many “components” falling into place.

This includes not only sources of production, but also training to enable medical staff to monitor and manage oxygen levels.1px transparent line

Medical oxygen is produced in large quantities at plants and delivered to hospitals in two ways: either in bulk in liquid tanks or as pressurised gas in cylinders containing smaller volumes.

Liquid oxygen is the cheapest and best technology available but it requires hospitals to have the right infrastructure to pipe oxygen to the patient’s bedside. This is common in developed countries such as the US and those in Europe.

Cylinders do not require pipes and can be delivered to clinics without a sophisticated infrastructure. However, their distribution on a smaller scale means they are less cost-effective, in addition to being cumbersome to transport and handle, which also carries an increased risk of cross-contamination.

Another source of production is on-site oxygen plants, which produce oxygen to be piped or compressed into cylinders. The WHO says it is currently trying to map how many such plants exist in the countries.

After Manaus reached crisis point, oxygen donations were sent from the federal government and other states – as the local providers said they were unable to increase production – and across the border from Venezuela. But even transporting them became a problem.

Jesem Orellana, an epidemiologist at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, said the risk of shortage continued and was exacerbated by global demand.

According to Path, medical oxygen accounts for just 5-10% of the world’s oxygen production. The rest is used in various industries, such as mining, chemical and pharmaceutical.

“We need to think about oxygen as much as we think about electricity, water or other essential utilities,” says Ms Smith. “This can’t be something that we’re only concerned about when it’s bad, because when it’s bad, people will die.”

In the meantime, there are concerns that the strain of Covid-19 on oxygen supplies could have a knock-on effect for the treatment of other diseases.

“Covid has shown us just how essential it is in countries where there is no vaccine against Covid, no medicines,” says Leith Greenslade, who leads the Every Breath Counts Coalition. “Often, it’s down to whether you get oxygen or not, whether you live or die.”

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-55829424

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Latin America

Honduran abortion law: Congress moves to set total ban ‘in stone’

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Parliament in Honduras has initially approved a bill that will make it virtually impossible to legalise abortion in the country.

The new measure will require at least three-quarters of Congress to vote in favour of modifying the abortion law, which is among the strictest in world.

Honduras forbids abortion under any circumstance, even rape or incest.

Its latest move comes in response to Argentina legalising abortion last month.

Across Latin America, there has been increased pro-choice campaigning, known as the “green wave”, based on the colour worn by protesters.

The new legislation in Honduras hinges on an article in the constitution that gives a fetus the same legal status of a person. Constitutional changes have until now been permitted with a two-thirds majority, but the new legislation raises that bar to three-quarters within the 128-member body.

The measure still needs to be ratified by a second vote. However, support was clear on Thursday: with 88 legislators voting in favour, 28 opposed and seven abstentions.

Honduras has a stanchly conservative majority, which referred to the measure as a “shield against abortion”.

“What they did was set this article in stone because we can never reform it if 96 votes are needed [out of 128]”, opposition MP Doris Gutiérrez told AFP news agency.

Mario Pérez, a lawmaker with the ruling party of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, formally proposed the change last week, calling it a “constitutional lock” to prevent any future moderations of the abortion law.

“Every human being has the right to life from the moment of conception,” said Mr Pérez.

Ahead of the vote, UN human rights experts condemned the move, saying in a statement: “This bill is alarming. Instead of taking a step towards fulfilling the fundamental rights of women and girls, the country is moving backwards.”

Abortion has been constitutionally banned in Honduras since 1982.

In 2017, lawmakers voted on decriminalising it in the case of rape, incest or when there was danger to the mother or the fetus, but the move was roundly rejected.

Nicaragua, El Salvador and Haiti also have complete bans on abortion, but Honduras is the only country to also prohibit the use of emergency contraceptives in all cases, including after rape.

Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana and Argentina are the only Latin American countries to permit abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-55764195

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