The largely academic clash is considered redundant by many and is particularly hard on the two teams forced to play it.
Although, it’s not coming home anymore, the English players still can’t return home, yet. Eden Hazard and Co. will be looking to end their World Cup adventure on a high with a victory over The Three Lions in the FIFA World Cup‘s third-place playoff fixture.
In this article, we are going to talk about why FIFA should scrap the third-place playoff match in future World Cups.
It is a burden to the players
After a nearly 50-week domestic season, a month-long World Cup doesn’t really help the players prepare for the upcoming club campaign. It could lead to player fatigue, due to the high demands of world football, or even recurring injuries – as a majority of the players are first-team members for their respective clubs and will be returning pretty soon for pre-season preparations.
Therefore, the third-place fixture is more of a burden to players and a way of making money for FIFA and the broadcasters.
The probability of a mismatch
Every third-place playoff has a team with an extra day of rest against a team without the extra day.
This obviously has an impact, as player fatigue could affect the outcome of the match and also team tactics. This could also lead to the manager fielding second-string players in the starting XI.
Two consecutive losses could demoralize the players
England will face Belgium for the second time AT this World Cup. The upcoming meeting could be seen as a waste of time by the players as a win won’t really change the fact that they are out of the tournament.
It has happened to England before in 1990 when a team consisting of the likes of Paul Gascoigne lost to Italy in the third-place playoff.
A second consecutive loss could demoralize the players and fans to a certain extent. It could be seen as a stain in an otherwise amazing campaign by both the teams.
It has an impact on the individual awards
A third-place playoff doesn’t only affect the FIFA rankings, but also the individual awards in the World Cup. For instance, If Romelu Lukaku scores a hat-trick against England (with Harry Kane not scoring), then he would pip Kane to the Golden Boot, which doesn’t really make sense as the fixture doesn’t impact the World Cup in any way.
This has happened many times before, with Thomas Muller winning the Golden Boot in 2010 with his fifth goal against Uruguay in the third-place playoff. In 1998, Davor Suker won the award with the help of his goal in a similar fixture and so was Toto Schillaci in 1990, after his third-place playoff goal against England.