Morocco and Croatia meet in the only World Cup game that neither team wants to play
Your team has just lost in the semifinal of a World Cup. You are understandably heartbroken, thinking about what could have been.
After a month-long stay ended in devastating defeat, you can’t wait to go home to see family and friends, but instead you have to stay and play in the third-place playoff.
To many, it seems like a largely pointless exercise. Does it really matter who makes it to third or fourth? However, there is some glory to be had.
If finishing third instead of fourth isn’t incentive enough, the winner of the match will also get a bronze medal and a bit more cash for their efforts: $27 million instead of $25 million.
All but two World Cup tournaments in history, the first edition in 1930 and then again in 1950, have had third-place ties and could be seen as a good way to end your tournament on a high after a disappointing loss. .
The importance of the game for third place in each World Cup depends entirely on the teams that contest them. Four years ago in Russia, England played like they didn’t care about the game, while Uruguay were considerably more eager to try and win, though they lost to Germany in 2010 and Croatia in 1998.
This year, in the third-place match between Morocco and Croatia, there are two teams that are apparently itching to try for the bronze medal and an extra $2 million for their respective federations.