Most penalties for one team in a World Cup: Argentina, Lionel Messi share lead for pens received at Qatar 2022

Most penalties for one team in a World Cup: Argentina, Lionel Messi share lead for pens received at Qatar 2022

Lionel Messi scored his fifth goal of the 2022 World Cup against Croatia as Argentina romped to a 3-0 win at Lusail Stadium to reach the final.

It is a tally that places Messi level with Kylian Mbappe in the race for the Golden Boot and one that has been bolstered by frequent opportunities to score from the penalty spot.

Despite the fact a number of Argentina players complained about referee Mateu Lahoz after their fraught quarterfinal against the Netherlands, are the Albiceleste actually getting more of the big calls from officials than anyone else?

We have a look at the hefty penalty haul secured by Lionel Scaloni’s side in 2022 and where it stands in World Cup history.

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How many penalties have Argentina received in World Cup 2022?

Messi thrashed a clinical finished into the top right corner, beating Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic after the Croatia goalkeeper brought down his strike partner Julian Alvarez.

It was the fourth time Messi had the chance to score from the spot in Qatar, having rolled home the opener in his side’s shock 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)

Saud Abdulhamid was penalised by a VAR review after wrestling Leandro Parades to the floor on that occasion and another consultation with the screen saw Messi awarded a controversial spot-kick after an aerial challenge with Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in Argentina’s third match.

Szczesny ensured justice was done with a magnificent save, although Argentina backed up their 2-0 win over Mexico with a victory by the same scoreline to reach the knockout stages.

Lionel Messi scores vs Netherlands

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Messi and Alvarez scored from open play in the 2-1 win against Australia but, after setting up Nahuel Molina with a glorious pass against the Netherlands, the Paris Saint-Germain forward converted a penalty following Denzel Dumfries’ foul on Marcos Acuna.

Not including his successful conversion in the shootout against Louis van Gaal’s side, Messi’s penalty record is scored three, missed one at Qatar 2022. Has anyone done better?

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Most penalties awarded to one team at a World Cup

If Argentina persuade the referee to point to the spot in the December 18 World Cup final, they will be out on their own. For now, they are level on four penalties won with two other sides.

Portugal were awarded four penalties on their way to third place at the 1966 World Cup in England. This is particularly remarkable when you consider there were only eight penalties given in the entire tournament.

That record was tied 12 years later in Argentina. The Netherlands also won four penalties before being beaten by the hosts 3-1 in the 1978 final.

Most penalties for one team in a World Cup

  • 4 — Argentina (2022)
  • 4 — Netherlands (1978)
  • 4 — Portugal (1966)

MORE: Lionel Messi’s penalty-kick history

What’s the most penalties scored by a player at a World Cup?

Unlike Messi, Portugal and the Netherlands’ takers in those tournaments returned an unblemished record with four penalty kicks converted each.

Eusebio (Portugal, 1966)

Portugal great Eusebio scored twice from the spot as his side launched a comeback from 3-0 down to beat surprise package North Korea 5-3 at Goodison Park.

His penalty against England could not avert a 2-1 semifinal loss to the hosts, and Eusebio dispatched another as the Selecao beat the USSR in the third-place match. Penalties put past Gordon Banks (England) and Lev Yashin (USSR) in consecutive matches is no mean feat.


Rob Rensenbrink (Netherlands, 1978)

When Johan Cruyff withdrew from the 1978 World Cup, it created a vacancy on the left of the Dutch front attacking three for Rob Rensenbrink. The Anderlecht winger was also a master penalty taker, scoring two in a 3-0 win against Iran.

He had three penalty goals by the end of the first group stage after scoring against Scotland and did likewise in a 5-1 thumping of Austria.

Most penalties ever in a World Cup?

The VAR age has certainly changed the picture in terms of how frequently penalties are awarded in elite matches.

The 2018 World Cup in Russia was the first where officials were assisted by video technology and a record 29 penalties were awarded over the course of the competition.

That number is unlikely to be beaten with two matches to play at Qatar 2022. Messi’s penalty against Croatia was the 20th of the competition.

Already, that is the second-highest number of penalties at a World Cup, topping 18 apiece at France ‘98 and Japan/South Korea 2002.

Most penalties in a World Cup

  • 29 (Russia 2018)
  • 20 (Qatar 2022)
  • 18 (France 1998)
  • 18 (Korea/Japan 2002)