World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Third prize worth fighting for?

phil_mcnulty.gifBERLIN - Jurgen Klinsmann has played in a World Cup final and has now managed on the highest stage by coaching his country to a semi-final.

Now he must take charge of a game that provokes mixed feelings among the World Cup community - namely the third place play-off.

Some regard this an unnecessary invasion into the World Cup calendar, a minor money-spinner in which those taking part - in this case Germany and Portugal - could actually do without.

In this instance, I think the match is valid and meaningful because it gives Klinsmann and his exciting Germany team a chance to pay back some of the faith they have been given over the last few weeks.

This country has been fervently in support of a coach they criticised before the tournament, and a team they feared went in as no-hopers but suddenly sparked hopes they could actually win it.

There will be emotion as well.

Will it be Klinsmann's final game in charge? Will it be Oliver Kahn's final game for his country?

It will mean a lot, and certainly Klinsmann is in no mood to meekly accept fourth place.

He said: "This is not the final we had hoped for. We wanted to be in Berlin for the big final. We will now play the small final and we will give it all we have got and the team will play their hearts out one more time."

The transformation in feelings towards Klinsmann and this German team has been remarkable, and the coach is the unifying symbol.

Smiling, hugely-popular and with just a hint of an American twang these days from life in California, some people have just got it - and Klinsmann's got it.

But he is, beneath all that, an habitual winner so his foot will not be off the pedal in Stuttgart.

So it's all systems go for Germany v Portugal - but would it have been the same for Italy v Portugal?

There's the rub of the third place play-off. Would that have created such interest?

What's your view? It is meaningless or is it actually worth playing?

The motto of this World Cup is "A Time To Make Friends" - and it was all sweetness and light at Germany's final media conference in Berlin.

Staged at a lavish conference centre in the city, questions are overseen by Germany's media official Harald Stenger.

And Harald was offering the olive branch to any media colleagues he may have unintentionally offended during the long, tiring and stressful World Cup campaign.

He announced to the media from the stage: "I may have resorted to very harsh language on occasions, but I never meant to criticise their personality, only their style of work."

Touching words indeed.

Harald also gave what he told me was "the red card" to one British media man (not from the BBC I hasten to add) who over-stepped the mark after the semi-final in Dortmund.

Not a man to be trifled with it seems, Harald also got an accolade of his own after it emerged he came to the aid of Germany backroom boy Oliver Bierhoff when fisticuffs broke out at the end of their quarter-final win against Argentina.

All the media staff presented him with a t-shirt with a shot of Harald going into action, complete with message "Harald The Fighter" emblazoned underneath the picture.

Jurgen Klinsmann keenly claimed his, while Harald happily lined up with staff for a team photo, all wearing the latest trendy t-shirt in Germany.

A time to make friends indeed...

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:48 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • zetuga wrote:

Klinsmann has done a huge job despite being aimed by the german media because of his home address (USA rather than Germany). Well done!

A bit as Sven, but with different results.

As for Portugal, 4 players in the world cup dream team.
Maybe there is something more about this team of divers, as no other team has more than that....

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  • 2.
  • At 04:51 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Philipp Trempenau (Berlin, Germany) wrote:

I think the tradition of the "little final" should go on. For me as a German, it might even hurt to see my team playing there. But it gives bench players the chance to play in front of a huge crowd. Jansen, Huth, Kahn and Odonkor will surely play their hearts out. And Torsten Frings will at least at the chance to play once more at this WC (although the ban was justified, don't get me wrong here).

So is it gonna be the BIG event ? Sure not. But is it to anyone's disadvantage ? No. So let the boys play and enjoy !!!

Auf geht's Deutschland !

P.S.: Please stay, Jürgen....

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  • 3.
  • At 04:57 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Malcolm wrote:

Germany as defeated hosts and Portugal after being vilified as cheats by the English media have both something to prove. This has all the makings of a very good game.

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  • 4.
  • At 05:28 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

The inclusion of Germany in this game may add some spice but I tend to feel it is a meaningless encounter and FIFA would be better off simply awarding bronze to both losing semi-finalists. It's all or nothing in World Cups so gold is the sole objective.

I hope Germany win but not because of any spite in regard of Portugal, it's just they have played a fairly honest game in this World Cup
and they at least deserve to end on something of a high.

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  • 5.
  • At 05:36 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

Who cares?

Honestly, absolutely pointless exercise!

Two sets of players that would rather get home to their families have to stay and play this meaningless fixture just to suit Fifa.

It's about time they scrapped this 3rd/4th place losers final!!!

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  • 6.
  • At 05:46 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Mattyboy wrote:

The 3rd place match is pretty meaningless - no one remembers who finished 3rd although looking back over time they have produced open and attacking matches.

If FIFA insist on playing this match, they could make it a bit more interesting by offering the winners a slight incentive.

What if they were to guarantee the 3rd placed team a top seeded position in the finals draw for the next World Cup (subject to that team qualifying)?

This might increase the stakes a bit without significant changes to the rules and may be sufficiently attractive for the teams to go for a win.


But why not go the whole hog and offer them an automatic spot in the next world cup?

Years ago, the 3rd placed team at the Rugby World Cup were guaranteed automatic qualification for the next World Cup (alongside the winners and runners up). However Rugby does not have the overall strength in depth across the world that football has. Previous Rugby World Cup qualifying tournaments have become almost walkovers for the established nations and qualifying matches were seen as more of an inconvenience to the unions rather than a serious qualifying campaign. All the automatic qualification did was to get the top 3 countries in the world out of making long and expensive trips to remote places where they could run in 20 tries against a load of students and middle-aged beer bellies. The big countries always qualified due to the gulf in class between the top rugby 10 nations and the rest of the world.

Fortunatley football does not have these problems - the qualifying tournament is a genuinely exciting event and the big teams do not always get to the finals.

Anyway, not even the winners of the football world cup get an automatic slot for the next tournament anymore.

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  • 7.
  • At 05:49 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • imaginelennon wrote:

3rd place playoff. A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME!!
Its a match which nobody needs or wants except it lines FIFA'S pockets.
Hope the Germans win (am i really saying that) but does it really matter.
Its a month away to the start of domestic seasons and i know its only 3/4 days since the semis but these players deserve a rest.
As a Spurs fan im delighted France are in the world cup final as Henry will be worn out next season.
See the strange results at the start of next season in domestic leagues across Europe from teams with players in the latter stages of the world cup and then tell me if a meaningless 3rd/4th playoff is worth it.

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  • 8.
  • At 05:50 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Fritz Simon wrote:

Here, here Phil!

In this case, the match is very necessary for the German team as a whole, not only Klinsmann.

However, the Portuguese will not be coming to the pitch to lay down either. Both teams still have something to prove and therefore I believe it will be a hotly contested match.

If the Germans are to win this final match, they will have to play like never before.

May the best team win – fairly and most of all cleanly!

Fritz

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  • 9.
  • At 06:28 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

Hello,

Yes, maybe no one will remember the 3rd.
But what if the match for the 3rd is alot better to watch as the final one?
...cauz than the people will remember and i really hope it will be the best and most exciting game in the Worldcup.

cheers

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  • 10.
  • At 06:34 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Al wrote:

Lets look at it this way! If England were in the third place play off they would have most probably witnessed a tickertap parade on their return to England and been hailed the best English team never to win a world cup.
Oh and I see the pun by Fritz, Portuguese, lay down. Very Funny. I think fifa should make the pitch out of rubber, it would be so funny to watch them bouncing straight back up everytime them get shot by that imaginary bullit.
Good luck to the Germans. Not because I'm a bitter England Fan but because I think they deserve it. They reminded me of us in Euro 96. Even stole our song.

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  • 11.
  • At 06:42 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Peter wrote:

Hello,

Yes, maybe no one will remember the 3rd.
But what if the match for the 3rd is alot better to watch as the final one?
...cauz than the people will remember and i really hope it will be the best and most exciting game in the Worldcup.

cheers

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  • 12.
  • At 06:47 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Greg S wrote:

The 3rd/4th play-off is a bit of a joke game. No-one really cares. The World Cup has very little time or sympathy for losers - once you're out, you're out.

To make it even worse, the usual scenario is that one team wants to win (and in doing so, finish the tournament with a player as top goalscorer) whereas the other team really don't care and just want to get on the plane home.

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  • 13.
  • At 07:02 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • SRM wrote:

i think this game is important for the countries involved... Ok, so its nowhere near as good as the final, but its better than exiting earlier.

i hope its a good game!!!
Come on Portugal!!!

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  • 14.
  • At 07:40 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Matthias wrote:

The Third Price does not count very much, that’s true. Here it is called "Spiel um die goldene Ananas", which would be something like "Match of the Golden Pineapple" or so in english ...

But in this special case it is - still sad to say ... ;-) - the host’s team which will go for it and it is the perfect occasion for an "internal" german goodbye to their world cup 2006 fiesta and to celebrate this succesfull and friendly tournament. With no pressure.

Not exactly the blockbuster for everybody not coming from Portugal or Germany, okay, okay, but, hey, maybe it will be not a bad game - after all there were only a few good ones anyway. And if - nobody will really care ...

BTW.: Thank you BBC, for the interesting reports in your World Cup 2006 Blog. I enjoyed reading here very much.

See you 2008 ;-)

Greetings from Munich, Germany.

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  • 15.
  • At 07:59 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Marius wrote:

Did you actually know, in Germany we invented a machine to increase Gravity! Yes, we placed them in each stadium under both areas (hehehehe).

(In case you don't get it, it is all a big lie)

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Leave the third place contest as it is.

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  • 17.
  • At 08:13 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Armando wrote:

As I view it, a team that made all the way up to the semifinals deserves an extra chance to prove its worth.
(or lack thereof, like it happened in 2002 :-) ).

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  • 18.
  • At 09:28 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Nuno Ferreira wrote:

Reading Phil McNulty "view" of tomorrow's game one believes theirs only one team playing in Stutgard tomorrow. Not one world abou the skills and the wonderful players Portugal has. We'ere used to it Phil and that's because I encourage every friend of mine to make a complaint to BBC against this shameful coverage of Portugal team in the World Cup. I wish your team loses tomorrow Herr Phil

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  • 19.
  • At 09:44 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Dunc wrote:

Third place? Isn't that something like kissing your sister? Or maybe it's just turning into the consolation prize for disappointed host nations as witness South Korea in a similar mood fours years ago. If anything it symbolizes FIFA's (and football's) G-R-E-E-D! "Money-Spinner" is indeed the key word here (and just about everywhere it seems in 'fussboll' these days). Phil Scolari is one shrewd football mind and he has expressed his displeasure with this irrelevant non-event. As for Germany and Caly Klinny, has anyone forgotten that Germany made the final in the last WC but only went as far as the semi's in this one. What kind of progress is that?

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  • 20.
  • At 10:05 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Sascha wrote:

Indeed Portugal has wonderful players. I think Portugal did well and emotions got out of hand. Looking forward to the match tomorrow. Portugal ain't easy to beat that's for sure.

Good luck to both teams from Germany

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  • 21.
  • At 10:10 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Joe from San Francisco wrote:

Portugal should use this last game to redeem its reputation.

At the beginning of the Cup, I whole-heartedly cheered the spirited and emotive Portuguese team, especially given their talented roster, underdog status and the fact my family hails from the neighboring coastal Spanish state of Galicia, right above Portugal. At first, I enjoyed watching Deco, Figo, Ronaldo, and Ricardo, as well as sideline exhortations of “Big Phil” Scolari, their Brazilian coach.

But over the course of the Cup, I did notice that Portugal played a gritty-type of soccer, which Scolari reportedly brought from his experience in South American leagues, where nearly anything goes. Diving, complaining, and rough play seem to be the hallmarks of this approach. Despite my appreciation of their team spirit and indomitable drive, I gradually lost respect for the lack of sportmanship of Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo. (And, BTW, England also needs to take responsibility for the actions of its immensely talented -- and equally immature -- bad boy, Mr. Rooney.)

Based on my athletic experience, I rather play for a team and coach like Germany and Klinsmann, people who demonstrate integrity, game after game. In my book, it is not just how high you finish, it also how you play the game.

Given this, I will be cheering for France and Germany this coming weekend.

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  • 22.
  • At 11:45 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

I'm looking forward to tomorrows game and not just because I believe the Germans will stuff Portugal. The 3rd place game provides a chance for the players and spectators to enjoy an open attacking game of quality football without serious temptation to dive etc. I expect the final will be a very cagey somewhat negative affair which fails to live up to it's hype and may even go to penalties. World cup finals usually don't produce the most attractive games.

RE: Nuno ferreiras call to complain about Portugals coverage by the BBC. The BBC exist to provide UK TV licence payers with Editorial services not the Portugese. And before anyone says anything about Portugese licence payers in the UK, do you think the Portugese media give a monkeys what their sizeable English expat community think? No. Of course they don't. Licence payers in Scotland may complain as much as they like though.

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  • 23.
  • At 12:07 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • MCardoso wrote:

Apparently it only takes one team to play that match, as you only talk about Germany, German team and german coach...

The portuguese are a great team and there's has been a very disonest campaign against them. English on the lead.

PS:Some Rennie makes wonders...good luck!

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  • 24.
  • At 12:24 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • georgm wrote:

I don't think anyone will still be taking tomorrow's match seriously. That might have its good sides too; perhaps we'll be seeing a football party on the field? And probably no penalty shoot-out...

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  • 25.
  • At 12:31 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Wes wrote:

What worries me more than anything else about this third place is that the two previous winners have done little else after that. Turkey won third place at the last World Cup and its not been rosy since then.

Also Croatia got third place in France and have failed since then to reach the same heights. Lets hope either Portugal or Germany will buck the trend and be back as soon as the Euro 08.

I hope it will be an entertaining match with Germany playing some players who will be trying to impress having been left out in the previous games.

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  • 26.
  • At 01:38 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I hope no more portuguese get persecuted in english towns because of articles as the one Phill McMnulty is writing. Is writing fueled hate againts Portugal and against portuguese. This gentleman is no tabloid journalist, is BBC Sport Online Chief Footbal Writer. May the great instituion whe use do respect called BBC think about the work of Mr Phill.

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  • 27.
  • At 01:40 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Thommy from Frankfurt wrote:

A) In almost any competition there's a third place - so why not in a WC? Just keep it as it is!
B) Despite a lot of flak that Klinsmann had to take, he succeeded in proving all his doubters wrong. Germany, which is my "Team B" (with England being my Team A), got very far in this tournament. Actually before the WC began, everybody I know was very sceptical about what the Deutsche Nationalmannschaft might be able to achieve, so let's be honest: the boys deserve it. Nonetheless I had preferred England to go all the way...
C) And I hope the German team will kick Portugese a***s big time. Frankly: If there was a "Cheaters of the Tournament" award, Portugal would surely be on the shortlist and having good chances to be in a top position - especially because of Ronaldo's success in having the Roonster sent off the pitch and also because of showing his skills in diving... Hopefully Ronaldo will be sent off to go wherever he wants go asap!

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  • 28.
  • At 01:55 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • georgm wrote:

I don't quite agree, Thommy. To me Rooney's kick was deliberately done, as far as I can judge, so the red card was the right decision. And I also don't agree that the Portugese were diving that much. I think this is really getting a little out of control!

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  • 29.
  • At 02:27 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Thommy from Frankfurt wrote:

Okay, maybe I've got a bit carried away... but I have watched the "incident" quite a few times, and I came to a different conclusion. But apart from this, I take it that you agree with what I said about the 3rd place in a cup and about the German team having played better than initially expected... And I guess that this is what this BLOG's was to supposed to be about, so sorry for going astray contentwise in my last post...

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  • 30.
  • At 03:27 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • kingymmot wrote:

Germany Vs Portugal? ...since most say "waste of time", I say lets go directly to "penalties", for example 10 per team and then alternate if tied? (joke!)... seriously speaking, sportsmanship means determining a 3rd and 4th place for the sake of such a significant tournament as the World Cup ,so, regardless of what the teams want to do (such as perhaps not play for 3rd), they should play it making the best of it and not look down on this game as unimportant when the result is the placing of the 3rd and 4th teams in football arround the planet every 4 years, quite an accomplishment! Perhaps FIFA could "build-up" this game in the future given its importance.How football-materialistic can we be that only the winner if the world cup gets any recognition, 2nd place is often forgotten and 3rd and 4th are usually forgotten.Play for 3rd!!

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  • 31.
  • At 07:14 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

The third-place play-off is meaningless because in a knock-out competition there can be no second or third place.

Suppose Italy win the final. They will have indirectly beaten all the other teams in the last 16. But you won't be able to say that France were second because France will be in the same situation as Australia, Ukraine, and Germany, i.e. only beaten by the winners.

So why should France be deemed to have come second rather than Australia, Ukraine, or Germany?

Suppose Germany win the play-off. Why should they be deemed to have come third rather than Australia, Ukraine, Brazil, or Spain?

The World Cup isn't a league. There can be no second or third place - only a winner.

So from the perspective of logic and fairness, I say scrap the play-off.

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  • 32.
  • At 07:28 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Joe from San Francisco wrote:

Given what I wrote in comment #21, I want to be clear about my feelings about Portugal and its players. Cristiano Ronaldo is right out of a greek myth, a wonderfully talented, handsome man, who is immature and ego-centric...in short, like a young greek god suffering from a big dose of hubris. We will see if he raises to his potential or becomes of victim of his own ego. Despite his frequent diving, Cristiano played well throughout the Cup, especially in the match against France. Ricardo is also deserving of lavish praise for instinctive, on-the-mark goal-keeping. And the rest of the team should be commended for staying in the game right up to the last moment. I can't help but like these guys; I just wish they were more honest, upstanding players.

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  • 33.
  • At 09:18 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Armando wrote:

"So why should France be deemed to have come second rather than Australia, Ukraine, or Germany?"

Because they went all the way up to the final ?

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  • 34.
  • At 11:41 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • jimc wrote:

I think it's meaningless for players and fans alike. Both are naturally heartbroken at losing the semi's but have to come out and play this pointless exercise three days later.

It might be a good game of football, but no players will be celebrating round the corner flag when they score a goal, fans won't be embracing. There might be a pat on the back and a round of applause at the end but there won't be any passion and that's what football is all about.

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  • 35.
  • At 11:45 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Berliner wrote:

The 3rd place play-off is surely uneeded to play, because for players of both teams it was a long season... But on the other hand the fans of both teams are be glad about to see her teams once again in a worldcup game. It is more like a friendly-match and a chance for some players to present herself...I hope for a great game without tactical necessities,for a game in which two teams will play an offensive nice football and no cheating Portugease ;)

In the "Big Final" I want that the french-team will win, Zidane is one of the greatest fotballplayers all over the time and it would be a great end of his career when he get the trophy...

Thank to all British people who supported the German team after the unfortunate drop out of the English team...But why can´t the English team win a penaltyshot? I was very surprised that so many Fans from the "Island" sympathise for the German team...

It was a great WorldCup, now I am waitung for 2010...

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  • 36.
  • At 11:55 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • John Wood wrote:

Germany have played above their 'rating' and have been good to watch. They have put on a good event only spoilt by some of the football which is out of their control. I hope they score a hatful against Portugal. Their contribution to the competition has been negative and do not deserve any credit. Ours has been the same for different reasons. We were just poor and dull to watch.

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  • 37.
  • At 11:59 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • georgm wrote:

Yes, Thommy (#31), I completely agree to that. :-)
Enjoy the match tonight!

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  • 38.
  • At 12:23 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bob wrote:

The Third and Fourth play off is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

I know because England played in one in 1990.

So to our "friends" in Portugal, enjoy!

I've got some decorating to do.

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  • 39.
  • At 01:27 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • M Hammond wrote:

yes the 3rd - 4th game of the WC is meaningless. However, it should be put in perspective that the two opposing sides were a fraction away from the final and perhaps were a bit unlucky. We cannot say that about England or their useless departing manager or their careless , unskillful players such as Lampard, Neville and Beckham

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  • 40.
  • At 02:09 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Jim Mayne wrote:

Keep the third place game in place as,for once, both teams will take to the field to WIN. Diving/cheating happens because the players are so frustrated that they try to make something /anything happen in a game that defensive tactics dominate. After all the hype lets be honest, most games have been BORING. Time to revisit the rules, open up the game and reward goals. I wish Germany had advanced to the final as they were by far the most entertaining team to watch.

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  • 41.
  • At 02:31 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • vlad wrote:

I can understand the comments being made about this game being pointless. Who ever remembers the team which came 3rd? (unless it is your own team, of course!)

I suppose we ought to judge this fixture after it's been played, if we want to make an honest assessment. Otherwise we're basing our opinions merely on our preconceptions, rather than on fact.

In support of this fixture though, I would add the following:

1. It does give the teams a chance to say "We are 3rd best in the World", rather than "Oh, we reached the semis."

2. The manager can reward the squad/older players with a farewell match (a la Klinsmann with Kahn.)

3. Most importantly - there is something to play for, but it's nowhere near as important as the World Cup Final. Therefore both teams WILL play for it!

How many major finals over the years have been tense 1-0 (or even 2-0) victories, lacking the free-flowing football which make the group games a job to watch? Let's have your predictions for the final: 1-0 France, 1-0 Italy, oooh, maybe even 2-1.
Anybody want to bet on 3-0, or 4-2?? More likely a tense 1-1 with a scrappy goal in extra time.

But a Germany playing for pride yet with a weakened defence, against a Portugal feeling hard done-by yet with a possible Figo swan-song and a petulant Ronaldo? 3-2 to Germany, I say, and perhaps the most exciting game since the Group Stages. :-)


And if you think FIFA only do this for the money.... please tell me how that is any different from their approach to the rest of the World Cup? You know what beer they sell in the stadia?! ;-)

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  • 42.
  • At 03:15 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bob wrote:

Well I've just finished painting the door and the coach (my wife) was very critical from the sidelines. What made the affair so tense was the frying pan she held in her hand throughout.

She is a realist when it comes to painting doors so I had to make sure I stuck to my appointed task (are you listening Mr Rooney?) and she was not not impressed by any dribbling on my part, the end result was all that mattered.

Oh yeah, keep the 3rd/4th game it is will be relaxing by comparison and I don't think FIFA just stage it for the money as it was introduced in 1934 (the second World Cup) when football was the issue rather than sponsor's money.

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  • 43.
  • At 03:53 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bea wrote:

@bob

You made me laugh, thanks. That was very funny. Regards to the coach, she seems to have unusual training methods, just like Jürgen Klinsman. But if it works I try it meself....

Regards from Gelsenkirchen
Beate

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  • 44.
  • At 05:48 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Patricia wrote:

Why shouldn't a third prize be something to look for? Should we also get rid of podiums in the Olympics?

I'll be watching the game tonight, because Portugal (the team that represents my 'cheating' country) is in it and I always like to see my team play. I don't really care if we win or lose, i'm glad we reached the semis after 40 years ;)

What I really want is to see a great football match and that Portugal shows the great football they play.

However, I seriously doubt that even if we play the greatest game in the History of Football everyone whose been labelling as a bunch of cheats, divers and actors will keep doing it anyway...

On a more optimistic tone:
good luck for Portugal and Germany and whatever the final result is I hope we'll all have great fun and celebrate after the match! ;)

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  • 45.
  • At 05:56 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Patricia wrote:

Why wasn't my comment posted?!

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  • 46.
  • At 06:49 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bob wrote:

@Patricia

Time is the greatest healer and the game moves I hope. My lasting impression of Portugal is the one from the 1960s. The great Benfica and the fantastic Portugal side of 1966 (which was the best in the world at the time). I was a youngster at the time and will never forget the great skills of Eusebio who I have always thought even to this day was better and more effective than Pele.

@bea

Yes I think my wife should be the next England coach, she would sort out the prima donnas of England in 5 minutes with her frying pan. Imagine Rooney straying deeper to challenge for the ball. A quick rap on the head from her and he would soon stay to his appointed task, well upfield and away from her.

The real reason Portugal beat England was because the fear of losing became greater than the desire to win for England. The midfield played too deep and defensive and opened up too ggreat a gap between themselves and Rooney and we all know what happened next, but Rooney should have stuck to his task and not got himself in the situation he did. Can't some of these footballers understand even the most simple of intructions.

It reminds me of a story about Tony Woodcock I think who played for Nottingham Forest in the when Brian Clough was their manager. Woodcock was playing a lone game up front and did a Rooney, he came back into his own half to get the ball and on a counterattack found himself charging into the opposition half. Suddenly as he recalled himself, he noticed someone at the touchline gesticulating and shouting and when he turned to look, whilst still in full flight, it was Brian Clogh who was shouting, "Er, young man. I pay your wages to get the ball in that half of the field (pointing to the oppositions half) not that half (pointing to he half Nottingham Forest were defending). I bet Brian Clough would have sorted Rooney out in five minutes too.

Ah, well another door to paint but good luck to both teams in tonights game. May the baest team on the day win.

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  • 47.
  • At 07:19 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Doug wrote:

I agree with Mattyboy - and I would go the whole hog and offer guaranteed qualification at the next world cup to the winners, runners-up, and the third place team.

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  • 48.
  • At 07:24 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Simon Ingram wrote:

I can't believe the negative reactions to the 3rd place play off. At any time seeing a football match with two great sides like Germany and Portugal would be a treat. What's the matter with you neggies? Don't you like football?

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  • 49.
  • At 07:27 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bob wrote:

The problem with that Doug is that including the hosts of which there could be two if the modern trend of sharing continues would mean that 4 or 5 places of the 32 available in the following World Cup would be immediately taken up.

Teams change over the course of 4 years and a great Brazil team of one tournament is sometimes only average 4 years later for example.

We want the best teams at each World Cup and with the spread being based on geographical locations at the moment to include teams from all parts of the world we don't get the best 32 teams in the world as things stand.

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  • 50.
  • At 08:22 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Leo Daniel wrote:

"Wisdom is born, stupidity is leaned" -Russian Proverb. The French wisdom to employ black footballers in the team will give them the edge over Italians on Sundays World cup final.

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  • 51.
  • At 02:12 AM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

In the circumstances, I'd have taken the opportunity of a third place play off (yet again)

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