Give us goals and entertainment

Although they may have fallen at the penultimate hurdle, both Croatia and Morocco have the chance to claim a little extra bonus for their impressive World Cup campaigns when they face off for third place on Saturday.

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Some fans tend to view the knockout match with an air of disdain, anticipating a slightly underwhelming contest in which two exhausted and depressed finalists try to muster the motivation to come back in search of one last victory.

However, the fact remains that the race for third place in the World Cup has historically been a matter of many goals and how far the Pot of Gold has been won over the years.

A third-place finish at the 2022 World Cup would be a major achievement for Morocco, which has progressed further in the tournament than any other African nation in history. Few expected the Atlas Lions to make it past the group stage, so a podium finish would be the icing on the cake for Walid Regragui.

What’s more, Saturday’s play-offs could be the last World Cup match for Croatian captain Lucas ModricA long and distinguished career, although his coach expects him to play well into Euro 2024, and there’s no doubt that the The 37-year-old hopes to add a bronze to the silver medal he won with his country after finishing second. In Russia 2018.

In addition to international and individual pride, there are a number of other good reasons for fans to watch the game, and here are some of the most compelling:

Goals, objectives and targets

There are always playoff goals. Ever. In fact, since the first bronze medal game in 1930, no playoff game has ended goalless in regulation time and thus has been decided by a penalty shoot-out. In fact, the game has not seen less than two goals scored in regulation time since Poland’s 1-0 victory over Brazil in the 1974 World Cup.

Of the 19 World Cup third-place matches played since 1934, only three have scored a single goal – 1962 (Chile 1 x 0 Yugoslavia), 1970 (Germany 1 x 0 Uruguay) and 1974 (Poland 1 x 0 Brazil). 🇧🇷 🇧🇷

Four of the last seven matches (since USA 1994) have featured four or more goals, with 26 goals scored in total. In the same period, the World Cup final had more than four goals (France 4 x 2 Croatia in Russia 2018) and only 15 goals scored in regular time.

The number of goals in the match

Over the entire history of the World Cup, 73 goals have been scored in 19 play-offs for third place (there were no play-offs in the 1930 and 1950 tournaments), compared to 77 goals scored in 21 World Cup finals .

Thus, although more goals are scored in the Finals, the playoff has a slightly higher average goals per game (3.84 goals per game) than the Final itself (3.66).


Hakan Şukur still holds the record for the fastest goal at a World Cup, when he scored a goal for Turkey just 11 seconds after the third-place match against South Korea in 2002.

attack tendencies

Freed from the intense pressures of the semi-finals, the third place match tends to see teams cautiously run into the wind and adopt more expansive attacking tactics in an elimination match that still has a ‘show’ feel to it.

However, the play-offs still count as an official World Cup match, so goals and assists scored can be vital when it comes to post-tournament trophies. For example, three players scored valuable goals in third place matches in which they won the Golden Boot.

The first was Italian striker Salvatore “Toto” Schellaci, who scored a late penalty to seal a 2-1 victory over England at Italy 1990 and claim the Golden Boot in the deal.

Since then, Croatia’s Davor Suker (1998) and Germany’s Thomas Muller (2010) have scored crucial playoff goals to reach the top of the goalscoring charts in those specific tournaments.

silly things

While it’s fair that the World Cup final takes center stage when it comes to international football records, the third-place game also has its fair share of historical points of interest.

With four bronze medals in the cabinet, Germany holds the record for having finished third most times at a World Cup since the tournament opened in 1930. Meanwhile, four nations – Poland, France, Sweden and Brazil – finished third twice.

Uruguay has had the most third-place qualifiers (three), failing to win a single, finishing fourth in 1954, 1970 and 2000.

Spain and Qatar 2022 Argentina are the only two World Cup winners not participating in the third place match. but, la roja They finished fourth in the 1950 World Cup, but the tournament was played in a league-league format and as such did not include a play-offs.

Third place has been a bad luck charm for European clubs for the past 40 years. Poland (1982), France (1986), Italy (1990), Sweden (1994), Croatia (1998), Turkey (2002) and Netherlands (2014) failed to qualify for the next European Championship.

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