Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi may have missed a penalty in Argentina Group C game against Poland, but that didn’t stop the South Americans from sealing a knockout berth on the penultimate matchday of the group stage. The PSG superstar won a much debated penalty resulting from his mid-air clash with the Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, who stepped up to make up for his mistake by denying the ‘La Pulga’ from the spot. However, the former Arsenal ‘keeper was unable to resist the Argentine pressure for much long Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez finally breached his goal in the second half.

But the headlines were rather grabbed by Lionel Messi and his counterpart Robert Lewandowski. The two prolific players on the pitch went through a sea of emotions throughout the 90 minutes, sharing some heated as well as friendly moments. Frustration of both the players was quite understandable, since Messi having missed the penalty was unable to get on the scoresheet, and Lewandowski barely got the supply from his team up front, ending the game with zero shots attempted.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi had a bust up with his fellow rival Robert Lewandowski during the group stage clash between their teams. Credits: Twitter

Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski quickly make up after their bust up

Despite missing the penalty, Lionel Messi was a mayhem for the Poland team who were troubled for 90 minutes by the talisman. The 35-year-old almost delivered a man-of-the-match performance barring the penalty miss, racking up 8 passes into the final third, 7 shots, 5 chances created, 4 dribbles ad 6 duels won throughout the game. Messi was evidently too hot to handle for every Poland player on the pitch, among whom was Lewandowski as well.

The Barca striker too was embarrassed by the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner on a number of instances, a much entertaining one being in the injury time of the second half. The two captains indulged in a duel, where Messi twisted and turned Lewandowski to a point after which the Polish striker took help of the dirty means almost every player does when he comes up against the Argentine. Lewandowski pulled Messi’s shirt, and even put both his arms around the PSG playmaker to stop in the middle of the pitch from going past him.

Messi, who his quite familiar to these situations, gave up the ball and put his arms up in their air expressing his frustration. The referee blew the whistle and awarded the Argentina no.10 a free-kick. But Lewandowski did try to embrace his fellow rival in an apologetic manner, who bluntly ignored the Pole. That irked the former Bayern Munich striker who turned and went away.

Lionel Messi
However, Lionel Messi and Lewandowski did put the bad blood behind after the full time whistle. Credits: Twitter

But the two players soon made it up for their on field bust up there itself after the full time whistle. Poland were facing a prospect of being knocked out Mexico were leading their game against Saudi Arabia with two goals. That had them level on points with Poland, but in third place in Group C due to their inferior goal difference. Another goal for Mexico however would have ended Poland’s journey in Qatar, before they conceded one, ensuring the European nation’s progression.

A relieved Lewandowski once again went to share a light moment with Lionel Messi who this time had a good time with the striker. The two went on to have a chat, whispering into each other’s ears with their mouths covered with their hands. Apparently that brought on the two good players together who smiled and went on to celebrate with their respective teammates. However, on being asked about the incident in his post-match presser, Messi told the reporters:

“Nothing happened [between him and Lewandowski]. I have been taught that everything that happens on the pitch remains on the pitch, like in the dressing room. The things that we say to each other in private will never come out of me.”

Having bounced back from their opening day defeat against the Saudis by winning the next two games against Mexico and Poland, Argentina now face Australia in the last-16. Poland meanwhile will have another tough outing as they face reigning world champions France, who lost their final group game against Tunisia.