- Szczesny was confident that it was not a penalty
- The referee still awarded the spot kick
- The keeper placed €100 bet with Messi and lost
WHAT HAPPENED? Messi was bailed out after seeing his penalty saved by Szczesny as goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez propelled Argentina to a 2-0 victory over Poland and seal the top spot in Group C. There was much controversy around the first-half penalty decision as it was deemed that Szczesny caught Messi in the face with his arm while grabbing an aerial ball. The keeper was so confident that referee Danny Makkelie would not point to the spot after checking VAR that he went ahead and placed a €100 bet with Messi. However, Szczesny lost the bet as Makkelie gave the penalty, and he has jokingly admitted that he is now expecting to be punished.
WHAT THEY SAID: "We spoke before the penalty and I told would bet him €100 that he [referee] wasn't going to give it," Szczesny told TV2.
"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! But I don't care right now. I'm not going to pay him either -- he doesn't care about €100 I think he has enough.''
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Juventus keeper has been in fine form in this World Cup and is now up to two penalty saves, having also denied Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari from 12 yards on matchday two. Ultimately, his save against Messi turned out to be crucial for Poland in the goal-difference battle with Mexico as they also progressed to the last 16. "I was fortunate twice this competition," he told RAI Sport. "It's a great moment in the career of a player, the World Cup is the maximum and this is special. There's a bit of work that goes into it, too, but in order to save a Messi penalty, you need some luck as well."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR SZCZESNY? The goalkeeper will be in action next against France on Sunday in the round of 16 tie at the Al Thumama Stadium.