Szczesny grabs chance to 'show off' penalty-saving skills to deny Messi

Szczesny grabs chance to ‘show off’ penalty-saving skills to deny Messi

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Since making his senior club debut in 2009, the 32-year-old has saved 26 penalties in his career – excluding shootouts – for Brentford, Arsenal, AS Roma, Juventus and the Poland national team.

long reach

Standing at 6’5″, his tall frame and long reach as well as his ability to dive quickly on either side after glimpsing over the line have made even the most experienced penalty takers second guess at the last moment.

Szczesny has also denied many players when they try to score on rebounds, making quick leaps into his path.

These double saves, like the one where he denied Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari from the spot before turning down Mohamed Al-Brik’s effort from the rebound, are popular fodder for highlight reels.

Last season he saved three consecutive penalties for Juve between October and March – twice against his former side Roma which effectively sealed the points as Juve won both games by a goal difference.

Should Poland be able to keep away France’s extraordinary onslaught in the last 16, there could be no better player in the penalty shootout against the defending champions.

But for now, he will celebrate Poland’s progress to the knockout stage for the first time in 36 years.

“My whole family is sitting in Warsaw watching everything – my mother, my wife, my son,” he said, adding to the camera: “I love you, Liam. Dad’s not coming home!”

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