Poland great Robert Lewandowski has revealed the conversation he had with Argentine star Lionel Messi after their final group match in the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 on Wednesday.
Poland lost 0-2 to Argentina but scraped into the knockout stages of the tournament, despite the loss to the South American champions, after Salem Aldawsari's stoppage-time goal for Saudi Arabia in a 2-1 defeat to Mexico.
That late goal ensured Poland finished as runner-up in Group C, ahead of Mexico on goal difference, to set up a Last-16 game against France on Sunday.
The pair were seen chatting away at full-time and Lewandowski revealed what their exchange was all about.
"We talked a little, had fun. I told Messi that I played more defensively than usual but something like that is sometimes necessary for the team," Lewandowski told German daily Bild.
He added: "This is very rare, yes: Me in the defensive midfield. But I knew I had to help the team."
Poland had been thoroughly outplayed by Argentina with Lewandowski an ineffective isolated figure as his team was pegged back for the duration of the game. Argentina had 24 attempts at goal, 13 on target. Poland had three, none on target.
"We didn't want to take any risk and, you know, we achieved our result because we reached the next round," Lewandowski said with a smile.
"Even though we lost, we can be happy." Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said his team's lack of attacking threat wasn't Lewandowski's fault.
"I'm not attacking anyone from the team, but we didn't help him to score," Michniewicz said.
"If (Lionel) Messi played for us and Robert played for Argentina, Robert would have scored five goals. Robert needed to get assistance and the match was played in our half. There were so many players covering him."
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