News Matches
W. Szczęsny

'I got to show off' - Poland keeper Szczesny revels in Messi penalty save & claims he always knew which way Argentina superstar would go

01:07 SAST 2022/12/01
Wojciech Szczesny Poland World Cup 2022
Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has claimed he knew where Lionel Messi would shoot after he saved his penalty at the World Cup.
  • Szczesny saved Messi penalty
  • Helped Poland to last 16
  • Claims he knew where Messi would strike

WHAT HAPPENED? With Argentina piling on the pressure in their final group game against Poland, they were awarded a penalty in controversial circumstances during the first half. VAR adjudged Szczesny to have fouled Messi by making contact when coming for a cross, but he saved the resulting spot-kick in tremendous fashion to deny the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking after the match to TVP, the Juventus stopper explained his point of view on the incident: "I immediately told the referee that I touched him (Messi) with my hand in the face, but I only hit him on the side of his face. I told him there was contact but I don't think there is a penalty. The referee decided otherwise and that's fine - I got to show off.

"Now I can say that I knew where Messi would shoot, but at the time I wasn't so sure. Leo looks at the keeper on some penalties and hits hard on others," he added. "I knew that if he was going to hit hard, it would be more to my left. I saw that he was not stopping, so I went, I sensed, I defended. I'm happy because that penalty gave something in the end. Very big satisfaction. I owed it to the team."

THE BIGGER PICTURE:
Astoundingly, his fine effort to paw away Messi's spot kick means Szczesny has now already saved two penalties at the 2022 World Cup. And while it wasn't enough to inspire Poland to victory on the night, it proved crucial in ensuring they made it out of Group C and into the last 16.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR POLAND? Thanks to Szczesny's heroics - and some drama elsewhere in Group C in the match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico - Poland have booked a date in the last 16 with defending champions France.