Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has revealed that he bet €100 with Argentina legend Lionel Messi regarding a penalty incident in their FIFA World Cup clash. The two teams met in their final Group C match on November 30.
With the game still goalless, the Juventus goalkeeper seemed to catch the Paris Saint-Germain man in the penalty box. Messi had already headed the ball wide of the goal before Szczesny caught him in the face.
While the on-field referee initially waved off Argentina’s appeal, he was advised to go to the monitor by VAR officials. Szczesny has stated that during that check, he bet Messi €100 that the penalty wouldn’t be given. He said (via Roy Nemer on Twitter):
“We spoke before the penalty, I told him I can bet him €100 that he wasn’t gonna give it. So I’ve lost the bet against Messi.”
The referee did award a penalty to Argentina and the PSG man stepped up to take it. However, Szczesny pulled off a brilliant save from a powerful effort with a superb dive to his left.
It was his second save from the spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to keep the game goalless. He also saved a penalty in their 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia in their second match of the tournament.
By doing so, the Polish custodian became only the third goalkeeper in World Cup history to save two penalties after compatriot Jan Tomaszewski and USA’s Brad Friedel. Meanwhile, Messi has now missed two of his three attempted penalties at the World Cup, equalling Asamoah Gyan’s dismal record of missing two out of four.
Wojciech Szczesny has now saved 2 non-shootout penalties at the 2022 World Cup. He joins Brad Friedel (2002) as the goalkeeper with the most penalties saved at a World Cup.
Denies Messi the opener. 🧤
Szczesny’s save helped Poland go into half-time goalless. However, Argentina came out all guns firing in the second half and scored through Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez to win 2-0. They topped Group C, despite losing their opening game against Saudi Arabia.
Poland also qualified for the Round of 16 after pipping Mexico on goal difference as the south American side could only beat the Saudis 2-1 in the other game.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni on substituting Lionel Messi
With the win and qualification more or less secured after Julian Alvarez’s goal in the 67th minute, some fans expected Argentina to rest Lionel Messi.
However, manager Lionel Scaloni stated after the match that he wouldn’t substitute the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner unless he asks for it. He said (via Sportstar):
“I wouldn’t substitute Messi unless he tells me to.”
Scaloni also stressed that La Albiceleste are already focused on their next game against Australia. He said:
“We are happy but shouldn’t be euphoric as it’s crazy that we are playing in two days and conditions are not great. We are not favourites, it was a tough group (C).
“But just because we won today, we can’t be winners. We have watched few videos of Australia. From tomorrow, we will prepare thoroughly and analyse them.”
Half the teams are set for the Round of 16!
#FIFAWorldCup | #Qatar2022
Argentina will take on Australia, who finished as runners-up behind France in Group D, in the Round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on December 4. The two teams have never clashed at the quadrennial tournament previously.
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