Saturday morning, a time of rest. What is occupying my thoughts as I wake today? Tea or coffee? Bacon or sausage sandwich? What time am I meeting my son? What time am I due at the BBQ tonight? All these things and without wishing to cause offence to any Germans or Uruguayans reading this, not the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off game this evening. Can you remember who played in this game in 2006? I certainly can’t. In fact, the only time I watched this particular fixture was when England lost to Italy in 1990 and I’m not sure I even saw the whole 90 minutes. I honestly do feel sorry for the players. Imagine, you’ve just missed out on getting to a World Cup Final, with all the heartbreak and huge disappointment that it brings and then you have to go out and play one more time. Quite simply pointless.
Just when I was beginning to think that FIFA had the monopoly on this type of futile fixture, I discovered that the English FA gave it a go in the seventies! The FA Cup third-fourth place matches were introduced in 1970 replacing the traditional pre-Final match between England and Young England (how interesting a game would that be now?). They were generally unpopular (what a surprise!) and were only played for five seasons. The 1972 and 1973 matches were played at the start of the following season and the last, five days after the Final. The 1972 match was the first FA Cup match to be decided on penalties.
FA Cup third-fourth place matches
|1971||Stoke City||Everton||3-2||Selhurst Park||5,031|
|1972||Birmingham City||Stoke City||0-0||St Andrew’s||25,841|
|1974||Burnley||Leicester City||1-0||Filbert Street||4,000|
So if you do tune in tonight, just think of the recent roll of honour Germany and Uruguay will join and memorise for use at your next pub quiz or indeed keep as useless info to impress your friends with……
World Cup third-fourth place matches
Good luck gentlemen, but can we please get on with the main event?