The 34-year-old stepped up after VAR spotted him being brought down by Hector Moreno’s shirt-pulling in the box, but his shot was well saved by 37-year-old Guillermo Ochoa.
It was just what El Tri deserved after replay referee Shaun Evans asked referee Chris Beath to look at the incident again on the screen, and he subsequently overturned his decision.
It was yet another soft penalty at this World Cup in Qatar after similar incidents were given as penalties against England for Iran and for Argentina against Saudi Arabia.
It sparked a dull game to life after Mexico dominated almost the entire match without seriously threatening Wojciech Szczesny’s goal.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 22, 2022
Jorge Sanchez, Hirving Lozano and Henry Martin all had shots saved by the Juventus No1, with Alexis Vega also coming close with a far-post header.
Lewandowski’s penalty proved to be his side’s only shot on target across the 90 minutes in Doha.
Poland manager Czeslaw Michniewicz said after the game: “Yesterday there were no journalists, he trained penalties and he never missed. So this happens. Great players miss penalties.
“Zico, [Michel] Platini, [Diego] Maradona, many others. It is football. Of course it is a pity about Robert. I know how much he wanted to score at a World Cup.
“He was very emotional about it. We have a monitor in the dressing room and we had a few replays. Robert had a look at them. He has to digest it himself. I cannot tell him what he should do or should not do. We will help him and we know he will help us a lot in the tournament.”
It leaves Saudi Arabia top of Group C with Argentina at the bottom after they were beaten 2-1 in a huge upset that went the way of the Middle Eastern side.