Szczesny reveals he ‘lost a bet’ to Messi over controversial decision in Poland vs Argentina

Jason Soutar
Wojciech Szczesny saves Lionel Messi's penalty

Wojciech Szczesny has revealed he “lost a bet” to Lionel Messi during Argentina’s 2-0 win over Poland at the World Cup.

Szczesny gave away a controversial penalty in the first half of his side’s defeat.

After making a save to deny Julain Alvarez, the Juventus goalkeeper tried to clear a cross and made slight contact with Messi’s face.

Literally everyone in the world – except Messi, the VAR officials, and referee Danny Makkelie – did not think it was a penalty.

The on-pitch decision was not to give a spot-kick, however, Makkelie was instructed to view the incident at the pitchside monitor and gave Messi the chance to open the scoring from the spot.

Szczesny made a brilliant save to deny Messi, meaning the Argentine forward became the first player to miss two penalties at a World Cup.

While there was a delay before the award of the penalty, Szczesny made a small wager with Messi.

Clearly taken aback by the decision to even review the incident, the former Arsenal goalkeeper bet that the penalty would not be given.

He, obviously, lost the bet, and even made a comment that he might “get banned” for the in-game gamble.

“We spoke before the penalty, I told him I can bet him €100 that he wasn’t going to give it,” Szczesny said after the match. “So I’ve lost a bet against Messi.

“I don’t know if that’s allowed at the World Cup. I’m probably going to get banned for it. I don’t care right now.

“I’m not going to pay him either. He doesn’t care about €100, come on.”

BBC pundits Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer were high in praise of Szczesny after his penalty save.

“It’s a really good save,” Shearer said. “Poland have got their goalkeeper to thank for getting them through to the next round. He was magnificent tonight.

“The penalty save, one or two other saves, particularly in the second half when it was just relentless pressure from Argentina. I mean this is wonderful. It should never have been a penalty in the first place.

“But he guesses the right side and not only that but he has the strength to keep that out there, brilliant. What a save with that right hand.”

Ferdinand added: “Szczesny is one of the best penalty keepers in the world. Goalkeepers and coaches will be analysing him. If he doesn’t play and perform the way he does today, Poland are out, simple as.

“It’s remaining concentrated though and that’s what top goalkeepers, the one’s who concentrate.”

Szczesny and Poland advanced through to the last 16 of the World Cup in dramatic circumstances.

At one point it was close to coming down to yellow cards, not goals or points.

With Mexico leading Saudi Arabia 2-0 and Poland 2-0 down to Argentina at the same time, Poland and Mexico were joint on everything except bookings, with the North American side on three more yellows.

Following Grzegorz Krychowiak’s yellow card with 12 minutes remaining to make it 7-5 to Mexico in that department, Poland boss Czeslaw Michniewicz said his “heart stopped” as he was aware of what could decide his side’s fate.

However, Poland held on to a 2-0 defeat and Mexico conceded in stoppage time.

The goal actually made no difference in the end, with Gerardo Martino’s side needing another goal regardless.

It was a nail-biting finish to Group C, with Poland getting the honour of losing to France in the last 16 this weekend.

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