Each FIFA World Cup includes a third place playoff game. This is the game in which the defeated semifinal teams play for the World Cup's bronze medal. As such, it is a fixture that includes world-class teams and players. These are a few of the great playoff games played in the cup.
France vs West Germany
In the 1958 FIFA World Cup France took on West Germany in the third place playoff game. Brazil had defeated France, and the Germans had lost to Sweden. The outstanding player in the match was Fontaine, a striker that had set World Cup scoring records in the finals. In this match Fontaine was again in top form.
France went ahead during the first 20 minutes of the game. Fontaine opened the scoring, but the Germans equalized minutes later. However, France regained their lead from the penalty spot, and Fontaine scored a second goal to make the score 3 - 1 at halftime.
In the second half there was a further glut of goals. Soon after the interval France scored a fourth goal to make the score 4 – 1. That goal ensured victory for France, but Germany pulled one back soon after. In the final 15 minutes of the game Fontaine further extended France's lead with two more goals.
The game ended France 6 – West Germany 3. It was a terrific soccer match with plenty of goals. Fontaine's four goals in the game further extended the striker's total number to 13, which remains a record number scored in a World Cup.
Poland vs France
A flamboyant French team took on a robust Poland side in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. The Italians had defeated the Poles in the semifinals, but in this game they played somewhat better against a great French team. France had played some majestic soccer in the World Cup, but were narrowly defeated on penalties in the semifinals.
France took the lead in the first half with a low strike from outside the box. Shortly before halftime Poland equalized with a fine strike from the left side of France's penalty box. Just before the end of the first half, Poland crossed a corner-kick into France's penalty box for Majewski to head home.
That goal gave Poland a 2 – 1 lead at the interval. Just after halftime Poland were given a free-kick to the left of France's penalty box. A great free-kick from outside the box made the score 3 – 1. In the final 20 minutes of the game France scored a second goal, but Poland held firm to run out 3 – 2 winners. The victory wrapped up a terrific World Cup for Poland as they clinched the bronze medal.
France vs Belgium
France were in another third place playoff in the 1986 World Cup. Once again West Germany had defeated France. This time they played Belgium in the playoff game.
In a thrilling playoff, Belgium opened the scoring within 10 minutes. France equalized later in the first half, and shortly before halftime they scored a second goal within the Belgium penalty box. However, a Belgium equalizer in the second half took the game to extra-time.
During the extra-time period France regained the lead from a goal mouth scramble in the Belgium penalty box. When a penalty was later given to France, it was duly converted to put them two goals up. As there were no further goals in the game it ended France 4 – Belgium 2.
They were three enthralling FIFA World Cup playoff games. Even if the final overshadows the third place playoff games, they are still a great supplement for the World Cup's finale.