Argentina advanced to the 2022 World Cup final with a 3-0 victory over Croatia at Lusail Stadium. Lionel Messi scored his fifth goal of the tournament. It is a tally that has Messi level with Kylian Mbappe in the race for the Golden Boot, and it has been bolstered by numerous chances to score from the penalty spot. Despite the fact that several Argentina players complained about referee Mateu Lahoz following their tense quarterfinal against the Netherlands, do the Albiceleste actually get more big calls from officials than anyone else? We take a look at Lionel Scaloni’s side’s massive penalty haul in 2022 and where it ranks in World Cup history.
How many penalties has Argentina received in World Cup 2022?
After Dominik Livakovic brought down Messi’s strike partner Julian Alvarez, Messi thrashed a clinical finish into the top right corner, beating Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic. It was Messi’s fourth chance to score from the spot in Qatar, having scored the opening goal in his team’s 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Argentina penalties 2022
- 1 vs. Saudi Arabia (Messi scored)
- 0 vs. Mexico
- 1 vs. Poland (Messi attempt saved)
- 0 vs. Australia
- 1 vs. Netherlands (Messi scored)
- 1 vs. Croatia (Messi scored)
On that occasion, Saud Abdulhamid was penalized for wrestling Leandro Parades to the ground, and another consultation with the screen resulted in Messi being awarded a controversial spot-kick after an aerial challenge with Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in Argentina’s third match. Szczesny made a magnificent save to ensure justice was served, but Argentina followed up their 2-0 win over Mexico with a 2-0 victory to advance to the knockout stages. Messi and Alvarez scored in the 2-1 win over Australia, but after setting up Nahuel Molina with a beautiful pass against the Netherlands, the Paris Saint-Germain forward converted a penalty after Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuna. Messi’s penalty record at Qatar 2022 is three scored, one missed, excluding his successful conversion in the shootout against Louis van Gaal’s side. Has anyone done a better job?
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Most penalties awarded to one team at a World Cup
If Argentina convinces the referee to point to the spot in the World Cup final on December 18, they will be on their own. For the time being, they are tied on four penalties with two other teams. Portugal finished third in the 1966 World Cup in England after being awarded four penalties. This is especially impressive given that only eight penalties were issued throughout the tournament. That mark was broken 12 years later in Argentina. In 1978 final, the Netherlands also won four penalties before losing 3-1 to the hosts.
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- 4 — Argentina (2022)
- 4 — Netherlands (1978)
- 4 — Portugal (1966)
What are the most penalties scored by a player at a World Cup?
Unlike Messi, the winners of those tournaments, Portugal and the Netherlands, each had four penalty kicks converted.
Eusebio (Portugal, 1966)
Portugal legend Eusebio scored twice from the penalty spot as his team rallied from 3-0 down to defeat North Korea 5-3 at Goodison Park. His penalty against England could not prevent a 2-1 semifinal loss to the hosts, and Eusebio added another as the Selecao defeated the Soviet Union in the third-place match. Penalties against Gordon Banks (England) and Lev Yashin (USSR) in consecutive matches is a significant accomplishment.
Also Read: Croatia stun five-time world champions Brazil in the dramatic penalty shootout win (4-2 on pens)
Rob Rensenbrink (Netherlands, 1978)
When Johan Cruyff withdrew from the 1978 World Cup, a vacancy on the Dutch front attacking three was created for Rob Rensenbrink. Anderlecht’s winger was also an expert penalty taker, scoring two in a 3-0 win over Iran. He had three penalty goals by the end of the first group stage after scoring against Scotland and doing the same against Austria in a 5-1 thrashing.
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Most penalties ever in a World Cup?
In terms of how frequently penalties are awarded in elite matches, the VAR era has certainly changed the picture. The 2018 World Cup in Russia was the first to use video technology to assist officials, and a record 29 penalties were awarded during the competition. With two matches remaining in Qatar 2022, that number is unlikely to be surpassed. Messi’s penalty against Croatia was the competition’s 20th. Already, that is the second-highest number of penalties in a World Cup, trailing only the 18 scored in France in 1998 and Japan/South Korea in 2002.
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Most penalties in a World Cup
- 29 (Russia 2018)
- 20 (Qatar 2022)
- 18 (France 1998)
- 18 (Korea/Japan 2002)