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Although they might have fallen on the penultimate hurdle, each Croatia and Morocco have the possibility to salvage a little bit additional reward for his or her spectacular World Cup campaigns once they come face to face in Saturday’s third-place playoff recreation.

– World Cup 2022: Information and options | Schedule | Bracket

Some followers are likely to view the playoff with an air of contempt, forecasting a barely underwhelming contest whereby two defeated, dejected semifinalists try to muster the motivation to go once more in the hunt for one final consolatory victory.

Nonetheless, the reality of the matter is that the World Cup third-place playoff is traditionally a really high-scoring affair and even the place Golden Boots have been received by means of the years.

A 3rd-place end on the 2022 World Cup would even be an enormous coup for Morocco, who’ve already come additional within the event than another African nation in historical past. Few predicted that the Atlas Lions would even make it by means of the group stage so a spot on the rostrum can be the icing on the cake for Walid Regragui’s underdogs.

Moreover, Saturday’s playoff often is the remaining World Cup match of Croatia captain Luka Modric’s lengthy and distinguished profession, although his coach hopes he’ll play on till Euro 2024, and the 37-year-old midfielder will little question be hoping so as to add a bronze to the silver medal he received along with his nation after ending runners-up at Russia 2018.

Worldwide and particular person satisfaction apart, there are a plethora of different good causes for followers to tune into the sport, and listed here are however a number of of probably the most compelling:

Targets, targets, targets

There are all the time targets within the playoff. At all times. In actual fact, for the reason that first bronze medal match in 1930, not a single playoff has completed goalless in regulation time and thus been settled on penalties. Certainly, the sport hasn’t seen fewer than two targets scored in regulation time since Poland’s 1-0 victory over Brazil on the 1974 World Cup.

Of the 19 World Cup third-place playoffs contested since 1934, solely three have featured only one objective scored — 1962 (Chile 1-0 Yugoslavia), 1970 (West Germany 1-0 Uruguay) and 1974 (Poland 1-0 Brazil.)

4 of the final seven video games (since USA 1994) have featured 4 targets or extra targets, with 26 scored in complete. In that very same time period, just one precise World Cup remaining has featured greater than 4 targets (France 4-2 Croatia at Russia 2018) and there have been simply 15 targets scored general in regulation time.

Targets per recreation

Over all the historical past of the World Cup, a grand tally of 73 targets have been scored in 19 third-place playoff video games (there have been no playoffs on the 1930 and 1950 tournaments) versus 77 targets scored in 21 World Cup finals.

As such, whereas there have been extra targets scored in finals, the playoff boasts a barely larger common goal-per-game ratio (3.84 targets per recreation) than the ultimate itself (3.66.)


Hakan Sukur nonetheless holds the report of the fastest-ever objective scored at a World Cup, when he netted for Turkey after simply 11 seconds of the third-place playoff recreation in opposition to South Korea in 2002.

Attacking tendencies

Unburdened by the all-consuming stress of the semifinals, the third-place playoff tends to see groups throw warning to the wind and undertake extra expansive, attacking ways in a knockout recreation that nonetheless has extra of an “exhibition” really feel.

Even so, the playoff remains to be counted as an official World Cup recreation and due to this fact targets and assists registered can show very important in terms of post-tournament awards. For instance, three gamers have scored valuable targets in third-place playoffs that noticed them win the Golden Boot.

The primary was Italy striker Salvatore “Toto” Schillaci, who scored a late winner from the penalty spot to safe a 2-1 victory over England at Italia 1990 and declare the Golden Boot into the discount.

Since then, Davor Suker of Croatia (1998) and Thomas Muller of Germany (2010) have each notched essential targets within the playoff to leap to the highest of the goal-scoring charts at these explicit tournaments.


Whereas it is solely proper that the World Cup remaining takes centre stage in terms of the annals of worldwide soccer, the third-place playoff additionally boasts its personal fair proportion of quirky historic factors of curiosity.

With 4 bronze medals of their cupboard, Germany maintain the report of ending third on most events on the World Cup for the reason that event was inaugurated in 1930. In the meantime, a complete of 4 international locations — Poland, France, Sweden and Brazil — have completed third twice.

Uruguay have contested probably the most third-place playoffs (three) with out ever managing to win one, discovering themselves fated to complete in fourth place in 1954, 1970 and 2000.

Spain and Qatar 2022 finalists Argentina are the one two World Cup-winning nations to have by no means featured in a third-place playoff. Nonetheless, La Roja did end fourth on the 1950 World Cup however the event was performed in a round-robin league format and as such didn’t embrace a playoff.

Third place has been one thing of a nasty luck appeal for European golf equipment prior to now 40 years. Poland (1982), France (1986), Italy (1990), Sweden (1994), Croatia (1998), Turkey (2002), Netherlands (2014) all did not qualify for the following European Championship.


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