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Why is there no third place playoff game in Euro?

Sri Nishanth
15.69K   //    07 Jul 2016, 17:13 IST

The UEFA EURO trophy that is awarded to the winners of the competition. (Source:

Football fans around the world have their eyes fixed on the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016 competition in France. The tournament started off on 11th June 2016 when hosts France took on Romania and will come to an end on Sunday 10th July 2016 when Portugal take on either Germany or France in the finals. The tournament has been very successful and unpredictable, with underdog teams like Wales and Iceland making it to the semi-finals and quarterfinals respectively. Additionally, last minute goals in many of the game has made the tournament exciting. 

A question many fans have posed is why is there no third place match between the two losing teams in the semi-finals. A third place match is common in the FIFA World Cup, Confederations Cup, African Cup of Nations and the Copa America, which are regarded as some of the other popular international competitions. So why does the UEFA EURO competition not have a third placed match?

Here are a couple of interesting facts – The third place match was a feature of all the UEFA Euro competitions from 1960 through to 1980. Czechoslovakia were the first and the last team to win the third place game at the Euros.

For the first five editions of the competition, only four teams would play the competition. In 1980, the tournament underwent an expansion and had 8 teams participating for the first time. The eight teams were split into two groups and the winner of each group would make it to the finals of the tournament. The third place game would be played by both the runners-up of the group.

UEFA put an end to this fixture after it had a consistently decreasing Television viewership and attendance rate. UEFA has since expanded the tournament format to a 16 team event and the latest edition, and the biggest yet is a 24 team event. Although bringing back the third place game could be on the minds of UEFA, some argue that it could be a good thing that UEFA doesn’t have the third place game. They argue that no team would be in the condition to train and prepare for another game, the very next day after their dreams of winning the trophy are shattered.

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Sri Nishanth
Third year Sports Management student studying at Loughborough University. From Chennai, India and based in Loughborough, UK.
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