Szczesny’s penalty save from Messi would ultimately prove crucial for Poland in the goal difference battle with Mexico, but the decision by referee Danny Makkelie to award the spot-kick surprised the Juventus goalkeeper, who was judged to have caught Messi in the face with his arm while collecting an aerial ball.
Makkelie reviewed the incident on VAR before awarding the penalty and Szczesny said he was so convinced that the referee would reject the penalty claims that he made a bet with Messi.
“We spoke before the penalty and I told would bet him €100 that he [referee] wasn’t going to give it,” Szczesny told TV2. “So I’ve lost a bet against Messi.
“I don’t know if that’s allowed at the World Cup — I’m probably going to get banned for it! But I don’t care right now.
“I’m not going to pay him either — he doesn’t care about €100. I think he has enough.”
For Szczesny, it was his second penalty save of the World Cup after denying Salem Al-Dawsari in Poland’s 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
“I was fortunate twice this competition,” he told RAI Sport. “It’s a great moment in the career of a player, the World Cup is the maximum and this is special.
“There’s a bit of work that goes into it, too, but in order to save a Messi penalty, you need some luck as well.”