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World Cup: Third Place Game


While third place can often seem inconsequential, in this case it could be a case of salvation. Salvation for Brazil who was thoroughly thrashed and embarrassed by Germany 7-1. Salvation of the Netherlands beautiful game who lost in disheartening fashion in PK’s to Argentina. Netherlands beat Spain, Australia, Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica to get to their semi-final. Brazil beat Croatia, drew against Mexico, and beat Cameroon, Chile and Columbia.

Brazilians have made much over the loss of Neymar but it was mostly the lack of leadership and total disarray in their defense which was their undoing. The Dutch on the other hand, played their second scoreless 120 minutes of football in a row, but ran out of gas in the PK’s, losing 4-2. One too many touches and back passes seemed to be the theme of their game.

Playing for Third Place in a field of the best-of-the world’s top 32 national teams, is a big deal. It will salve some of the lingering wounds these teams have, and give them another chance to show the world their brand of football.

Let’s hope for another brilliant game as the English would say. Today’s referee is Algeria’s Djamel Haimoudi. Aside from the Japanese center blowing a PK call in the opening game of the World Cup, Brazil vs Croatia; and the Mexican referee missing the Suarez bite seen round the world; referring has taken a back seat to the football. Which is as it should be. A few games were littered with dives and rolls, but otherwise, it’s been a wonderful spectacle.

But back to the Third Place game…according to The Independent on Friday, “Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal recently called for Fifa to scrap the third and fourth place play-off matches, blaming the affects a potential loss could have on his players.” Well, for his team who are probably very tired, it could be a difficult thing to get fired up for. However, in past World Cups, these games were more exciting than the Final. While that’s not what is expected here, if you had waited 4 years, gone through countless training sessions, friendlies, qualifying, the anxiety of the draw, selection of players, group stage, round of 16, quarterfinals, semi-finals…wouldn’t you want a final chance to come away with something? Why not? Footballers love to play…so on with the Third Place (let’s hope) thriller!


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