Why do we even have a third-place playoff at the World Cup? | Qatar World Cup 2022 News

Teams are heartbroken, fans can’t care less – and it’s not even making a lot of money for anyone.

It’s the game that no one wants to be in, it’s the game that few even want to see.

The play-off for third place at the World Cup is settling for the second best record. Well, third best.

These are the teams that have given their all, trained for many years to come to this tournament. These are the players who came to Qatar with dreams. Not a single member of the 32 teams in Qatar went out to the field just to show their faces. They come to win, to be the best in the world.

Third play? Interested to do? The dream is over, the title is out of reach.

So why do we even have a third place match at the World Cup?

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“Typically, a third place match provides only a footnote, or preferably some symmetry to decide which of the two semi-finalists is beaten by the last two remaining teams. in the tournament, who the whole world will notice as they compete for world championships,” said David Webber, a researcher in the political and cultural economics of football at Solent University. with Al Jazeera.

“But [it] does, however, serve a sporting purpose. At the very least, a chance to atone, and a chance to celebrate reaching the final four of the competition. Rarely do these games lack an element of entertainment, with four of the last seven bronze medal matches, since 1994, seeing four or more goals. When there is nothing left to lose, teams will often attack – with the strikers behind the Golden Boot often being the main beneficiaries.”

This “bronze medal” idea plays a more important role in the history of sport.

Paul Widdop, a sports business scholar at the University of Manchester, said: “The origins of the World Cup are very much influenced by the Olympics, and the ideology has always been gold, silver and bronze. “This was then reflected in the way the World Cup was organized. It’s similar to why we have a four-year World Cup cycle, based on outdated Greek mythology.”


FIFA makes money from ticket sales. An additional match means at least 45,000 more people will go to Khalifa International Stadium, each paying between $80 (for Qatar residents) to $425. That’s a fair part of the change. Qatar 2022 has helped increase FIFA’s income from more than 1 billion USD to more than 7 billion USD in this 4-year cycle.

There must also be little appeal to sponsors, who will soon be associated with the iconic finale rather than a game where many fans and players offer some solace.

As an example of just one television market, in 2018, around 9.8 million UK viewers watched to watch England lose to Belgium in the third place play-off match, Widdop noted. . More than 26.5 million – 40% of the UK population – watched England’s previous game: the semi-final defeat at the hands of Croatia. And those are just the people watching at home.

Whether it’s about squeezing the last few riyals out of the tournament or extending the last stretch of the competition – it’s better to finish third than finish fourth, after all. The match is an occasion to honor those who have come so close to football’s greatest glory.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino called Qatar 2022 “the greatest World Cup ever”. And this year, with Morocco’s magical journey, and Croatia’s hero Luka Modric’s possibility of leaving the international scene, with the devastation of the semi-final defeat still intact, there will be one more. opportunity to return home with high achievement.

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