At first we were going to write a preview for the third-fourth place playoff, like we try to do for the other matches, and then we hit a wall. Writers block? Nope, it’s this “match” they call the third-fourth place playoff. In a nutshell, it is a totally pointless game (how much sense does it make to pit two losers against each other in a knockout tournament!?!?!). Even the teams participating give little or no value to this match. Dejected at having lost the chance to lift the World Cup (at such a late stage!) and receiving the ‘cruel’ reward of having to play a “best of the losers” match is no consolation.
How the teams line up
Most teams decide to field their second string of players (read: subs/reserves), giving them their first chance to play at the World Cup. A few first team players, who are on the verge of a milestone (Miroslav Klose) or don’t need any rest, complete the starting line up.
With the build up and anticipation for the final, it’s tough to care for a third-fourth place match. Most people (read: the average football fan) don’t even realise that such a match takes place a day before the final! News coverage is generally low and even the most devoted of fans don’t take up much interest.
World Cup ‘legacy’
More than anything, both teams are remembered for making the semi-finals. Many people don’t remember who the third place winners were specifically, but they’ll be able to list out the losing semi-finalists (Germany/Portugal in 2006, South Korea/Turkey in 2002, Holland/Croatia in 1998). Even a win is generally played down with little or no celebration. Basically, the only legacy they leave behind is a tiny imprint in history books.
PREDICTION: Germany to easily win this. A poorly motivated Uruguay will stand no chance!