World Cup 2022: Wojciech Szczesny equals 20-year-old record by saving Lionel Messi penalty

Szczesny Messi
(Image credit: Getty)

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny equalled a 20-year-old World Cup record against Argentina on Wednesday when he saved Lionel Messi’s first-half penalty.

The Juventus stopper was penalised for catching Messi in the box as he came for a cross, as a spot kick was awarded following a VAR review.

Poland weren’t happy with what was a soft decision, but Szczesny bailed them out by leaping to his left to paw away the Argentina captain’s penalty.

In doing so, Szczesny became the first goalkeeper since Brad Friedel of the United States in 2002 to save two penalties in the same World Cup.

The 32-year-old also stopped an effort from Salem Al-Dawsari in Poland’s 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia, making it two spot kick saves in two games.

According to Opta, Szczesny also became the second goalkeeper since records began in 1966 to save a penalty that he conceded himself.

Joel Bats was the other, for France against Brazil in 1986.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.