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‘I might get banned now’ Wojciech Szczęsny reveals in-game Messi penalty bet

The goalkeeper was the hero as he helped Poland into the last 16

Polish and former Arsenal shot-stopper Wojciech Szczesny has joked that he may get banned by FIFA after he made an in-game bet with Lionel Messi during their side’s meeting in Group C on Wednesday night.

Argentina needed three points to guarantee their progression, while Poland needed just a draw to head through to the last 16, or they faced relying on other results.

And after surviving half an hour of pressure, VAR awarded Argentina a penalty after the Poland no.1 was deemed to have fouled Lionel Messi while coming to get a cross, something that the referee at the time didn’t deem a foul.

During the VAR review, in which the referee was sent over to the pitchside monitor, Szczesny revealed that he and Messi made a bet about the outcome.

“We spoke before the penalty and I told him I can bet him €100 that he wasn’t going to give it”, Poland’s no.1 told TVSport2 after the game.

“So I’ve lost a bet against Messi”, he added. “I don’t know if that’s allowed at the World Cup. I’m probably going to be banned for it. I don’t care right now.”

Fortunately, despite the questionable penalty decision, Szczesny redeemed himself moments later, flinging himself to his left to keep out Lionel Messi’s effort from 12 yards, a save that ultimately kept his side in the competition.

Poland suffer nervy ending

Despite the heroics of their no.1, it at one point Poland only looked like heading into the last 16 of the competition by virtue of having fewer yellow cards than Mexico, with both sides tied on goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head.

Fortunately, a late Saudi Arabia goal ensured that the final table looked slightly more favourable, with Poland sneaking through on goal difference and setting up a tie with France in the first knockout round.

Szczesny will be hoping that FIFA opt not to take the bet to seriously, and that he will be in between the sticks for his nation against the World Champions, and they will in all likelihood need him at his best.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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