News Matches
World Cup

Does the World Cup have a third-place play-off?

13:20 GMT+3 14/12/2022
Kylian Mbappe World Cup trophy
What happens to the losers in the semi-finals of the World Cup? Is there a match for third place? GOAL explains...

World Cups are the tournaments that bring football fans from across the world together. Thirty-two participants battle it out for a trophy that ultimately will be clinched by only the best side of them all.

The structure of the World Cup tournament is straightforward and simple - it has a group stage followed by knockouts rounds which concludes with the final decider.

Is there a third-placed finish at stake at the World Cup for the teams that enter the semi-final though? GOAL explains.

Does the World Cup have a third-place play-off?

The World Cup traditionally has a third-place play-off fixture played between the losing teams from the two semi-finals.

The winner of the play-off, which usually takes place on the day before the big final, gets the third-placed finish in the tournament honour roll.

Only twice in history have World Cup tournaments been organised without a third-place play-off fixture - in the very first edition in 1930 and later in 1950. Germany beat Austria 3-2 to win the first ever third-place fixture in the 1934 World Cup held in Naples, Italy.

Do the third-place team get bronze medals?

The winners of the third-place fixture will get bronze medals as reward for their efforts.

There is also a reward of $27 million for third-placed team, $2 million more than what the fourth-placed team will get.

Which other competitions have a third-place play-off?

Several football competitions have an additional third-place play-off fixture to determine the third position but not all of them have felt the need to add one more, arguably pointless fixture into the list.

The UEFA Nations League, FIFA Women's World Cup, Copa America are some of the other international football tournaments that have a game scheduled to determine the third place.

On the other hand, the UEFA European Championship does not have a similar fixture any more. The last third-place play-off was played in the 1980 edition of the tournament wherein Czechoslovakia beat Italy 9-8 on penalties.

Generally speaking, club competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup or Copa del Rey do not have a third-place play-off either.