Wojciech Szczesny made a bet with Lionel Messi during Poland’s World Cup clash against Argentina that the referee would not award a penalty, the goalkeeper has revealed.
The Juventus stopper denied Messi from the spot in the first half of Poland’s 2-0 defeat in Group C following a controversial decision, where Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot after watching the incident following VAR advice.
Szczesny was among those convinced that it should not have been a penalty, even going as far as to make a bet with Messi during the delay of the game – though he has no intention of paying up.
“We spoke before the penalty. I told him I can bet him €100 that he [the referee] wasn’t going to give it. So, I’ve lost a bet against Messi,” he said after the match.
“I don’t know if that’s allowed at the World Cup and I’m probably going to get banned for it but I don’t care right now. And I’m not going to pay him either! He doesn’t care about €100, come on.”
Szczesny’s denial of Messi from the spot saw the Polish stopper become only the third goalkeeper to save two penalties at a single World Cup tournament, excluding shoot-outs, having kept out Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al Dawsari in the previous round of fixtures.
His celebrations were muted, however, due to the tight contest in Group C to advance to the knockout stage – with Poland only advancing ahead of Mexico on goal difference.
“Yeah it was nice, I didn’t know at the time it was going to help us get through so I tried not to celebrate,” he added.
“But I’ve had some bad luck at the big tournaments so far, the World Cup four years ago was awful for me and I owed this much to the team and in the last two games I managed to help them a little bit.”
Poland will face defending champions France at Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday in the nation’s first appearance in the knockout stage since 1986.