Sunday, February 5, 2023
HomeSportsWhy is there a third place match at World Cup? Explaining debate...

Why is there a third place match at World Cup? Explaining debate around FIFA’s ‘most pointless game in sport’

- Advertisement -

The excitement surrounding a World Cup final is unrivalled in international soccer with Qatar 2022 all set for a crunch showdown in Lusail on December 18.

Defending champions France could face a rerun of their 2018 final if they get past Morocco and Croatia can beat Argentina in the other last-four tie.

Alternatively, Lionel Messi could be presented with a final shot at a World Cup title with Argentina, perhaps against a Morocco side who have become the first from Africa to reach the semifinals.

All four teams will be throwing everything they can into reaching the final and avoiding the dreaded third place playoff the day before the final.

MORE: Back-to-back FIFA World Cup winners: Teams to have defended their crown as France chase repeat

What is the World Cup third place playoff match for?

The third place playoff match has been a feature of World Cups since 1954. 

The game bears all the hallmarks of two sides not wanting to be involved given that it’s a match between the two teams who were beaten in the semifinals. Even with a bronze medal on offer, it’s a game nobody particularly wants to play.

Despite some fans and players objecting to the match, FIFA has indicated it will keep the fixture for the 2026 World Cup.

Why does FIFA insist on the match?

The primary reason for FIFA’s insistence on continuing with this uninspiring fixture, featuring the two losing semifinalists, is financial.

According to reports from Spanish outlet Diario AS, the financial injection FIFA receives from broadcasters and sponsors is substantial, with each competing nation’s FA also granted a cash boost.

The winners of the game (third place) collect an estimated $27 million (£22m), with the losers, (fourth place) receiving $25m (£20.4m). 

MORE: World Cup prize money 2022: How much do the winners earn? Purse, breakdown for teams and players

When is the 2022 World Cup third place playoff?

The 2022 World Cup third place playoff will take place on December 17, with kickoff set at 18:00 local time in Qatar.

Here’s how that is reflected in time zones across the globe.

  Kickoff time
Qatar 18:00 (local)
USA 10:00 ET
Canada 10:00 ET
UK 11:00 GMT
Australia 02:00 AEDT*
India 20:30 IST
Hong Kong 23:00 HKT
Malaysia 23:00 MYT
Singapore 03:00 SGT*
New Zealand 04:00 NZDT*

* Following day

World Cup playoffs: An unusual history

There is a tendency to view the third place match as one of the more boring fixtures in World Cup history, with France’s 4-2 win over Belgium in 1986 the first time it stretched into extra time. Still, it does often become one of the highest-scoring matches at a tournament given the two teams have somewhat less of an incentive to keep things tight and avoid conceding: the lowest-scoring of these games finished 1-0, on three occasions, and the last of those was in 1974.

England’s semifinal heartbreak against West Germany was compounded by defeat to hosts Italy in the ‘wooden spoon game’ in 1990, but the 2002 fixture featured an unexpected piece of World Cup history, as Turkey’s Hakan Sukur scored the tournament’s fastest goal, after just 11 seconds, against South Korea.

In the previous World Cup in Russia, Belgium defeated England 2-0 to claim third place.

World Cup Third Place Matches
Tournament Winners Losers Final Score
1954 Austria Uruguay Austria 3-1 Uruguay
1958 France West Germany France 6-3 West Germany
1962 Chile Yugoslavia Chile 1-0 Yugoslavia
1966 Portugal Soviet Union Portugal 2-1 Soviet Union
1970 West Germany Uruguay West Germany 1-0 Uruguay
1974 Poland Brazil Brazil 0-1 Poland
1978 Brazil Italy Brazil 2-1 Italy
1982 Poland France Poland 3-2 France
1986 France Belgium Belgium 2-4 France
1990 Italy England Italy 2-1 England
1994 Sweden Bulgaria Sweden 4-0 Bulgaria
1998 Croatia Netherlands Netherlands 1-2 Croatia
2002 Turkey South Korea South Korea 2-3 Turkey
2006 Germany Portugal Germany 3-1 Portugal
2010 Germany Uruguay Uruguay 2-3 Germany
2014 Netherlands Brazil Brazil 0-3 Netherlands
2018 Belgium England Belgium 2-0 England


Credit: sportingnews.com

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular