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6 FIFA World Cup 3rd place playoffs that were extremely entertaining

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1.77K   //    13 Jul 2018, 12:50 IST

2018 FIFA World Cup group stage: England 0 - 1 Belgium

It is the game no one wants to play in, a position no one wishes to be in. But many world champions have been here before. Germany have won it 4 times, Sweden, France, Poland and Brazil twice, and Uruguay have the record of losing it the most, but no team at the start of the world cup would want to end up playing in the 3rd place playoffs of the FIFA World Cup.

Yet Belgium and England find themselves in this situation. After the failure to get into the final of the World Cup and the disappoint and horror and heartbreak, they have to inspire themselves to put their best foot forward and leave one last impression on the tournament. Belgium and England have met 22 times in total till date, with England winning 15 of them and Belgium 3. In the World Cup, these teams have met three times, with one win each. The last time they met was in the group stages of the World Cup this year, when Belgium won by a solitary goal.

Belgium and England have both played 6 games in the World Cup so far, with Belgium winning 5 and England 4. Belgium have scored 14 goals in this tournament, the most as of now, while England have scored 12. Even though this game with see the top scorer of this tournament with 6 goals, Harry Kane, pitting himself against Romelu Lukaku, who is second on that list with 4 goals, both set of players will have a lack of desire and heart that a defeat in the semi-final and the subsequent broken dreams bring.

But for all the disinterest and absence of inspiration to play in the 3rd place world cup games, there have actually been quite a few thrillers in this tie in the 20 World Cups so far. Traditionally, this tie has been played one day before the main event, probably to keep the viewers engaged and ready. It is like the starter that tugs on our taste buds and prepares us for the main course. But as history suggests, many times, the introduction, the precursor to the World Cup final have been fantastic games of football and we look back at 6 such games which were hugely entertaining affairs.

#6 Germany vs Austria, 1934 World Cup, Italy

Football match between Austria and Germany

Germany and Austria logged head for the 3rd position in the 1934 World Cup, on 7th June 1938. In the semi-finals, Germany had been defeated by Czechoslovakia courtesy of a brilliant Nejedly hattrick, and Italy had defeated Austria by a solitary goal scored by Guaita.

Against Austria, Germany went ahead in the very first minute, thanks to Lehner’s goal. Conen doubled Germany’s lead in the 27th minute, but Austria fought back immediately, with Horvath scoring for them. Lehner increased Germany’s lead by scoring 3 minutes before half time. Even though Sesta scored for Austria 9 minutes into the second half, Germany held on.

Played at Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli in Naples, the game was attended by 7000 people and ended with the full-time score of 3-2 to Germany’s favour. Germany’s Conen ended the World Cup as the second highest goal scorer of the tournament with 4 goals.

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Deepungsu works 6 days a week, plays football on weekends, but thinks about the beautiful game every minute of the day. He tries to sprinkle his love of football in his writings. Diego Maradona made him fall in love with Football, Paul Scholes showed him how beautiful the game could be and Lionel Messi made him believe in the impossible. Manchester United has kept him sane for the last two decades.
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