World Cup 2022: Lionel Messi MISSES penalty after VAR decision in Poland vs Argentina

Lionel Messi missed a golden chance to give Argentina the lead against Poland as he saw his penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny – but neutrals (and Poland) will say that justice was served.

The awarding of the spot-kick came from the latest baffling VAR decision at World Cup 2022, as Szcesny dived to try and deal with a dangerous-looking cross – and his hand inadvertently caught Messi's head on the follow-through.

VAR told referee Danny Makkelie to watch the incident back – and, after going to the monitor, the Dutchman duly pointed to the spot.

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It was a soft call to say the least, but Argentina – for whom a win would guarantee progress to the last 16 – had the ideal opportunity to go 1-0 up.

But Messi – who had scored 12 goals in his last six international outings, including the opener in Argentina's tournament-saving 2-0 win over Mexico on Saturday – couldn't convert from 12 yards, as Szczesny guessed the right way to get strong glove on it.

The Juventus goalkeeper has now saved two penalties in as many games at Qatar 2022, having denied Saudi Arabia in Poland's 2-0 victory four days ago. The last 'keeper to save two penalties in one World Cup? Brad Friedel for the USA in 2002.

Messi has now had a penalty saved at each of the last two World Cups: he was thwarted by Iceland's Hannes Halldorsson during a 1-1 group stage draw in Russia four yeas ago.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...