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7 weird and wonderful moments you half-remember from World Cup third-place play-offs

Featuring Henrik Larsson's dreadlocks, Davor Suker's Golden Boot, Brazil being booed off, and more...

World Cup third-place play-offs are unique games of football.

Two disappointed semi-finalists face off for a relatively meaningless consolation prize in a fixture that’s half-friendly, half-World Cup final.

We went back and reviewed the last seven third-place play-offs and picked out some moments you vaguely remember…

1 Bastian Schweinsteiger’s exhibition

Jurgen is down with the kids

Jurgen is down with the kids

In 2006, a 21-year-old Schweinsteiger informed all his compatriots that he was to be the midfield general for the following decade.

It was Germany v Portugal and for 22 second-half minutes, Basti decided to just kick the ball as hard as he could whenever he was in possession.

He scored twice from distance and forced Petit into a shinned own goal by smashing the ball across the face of goal from a free-kick.

It was also Oliver Kahn and Luis Figo’s last international games — the latter providing a glorious assist for Nuno Gomes in the 88th minute but it finished 3-1 to the Germans.

2 Davor Suker’s golden touch

It takes a brave man to meg Jaap Stam

AP:Associated Press
It takes a brave man to meg Jaap Stam

Croatia are immensely proud of their efforts in 1998, and rightfully so.

Their magnificent kit billowing around Suker as he unleashed a volley of powerful shots at whatever poor, unfortunate goalkeeper stood in his way is an enduring image of the tournament.

Croatia’s No9 scored his sixth goal of the campaign to win the Golden Boot as Netherlands narrowly missed out on the podium.

Bolo Zenden scored an unnecessarily good goal for the Dutch consolation — dribbling 30 yards off the wing before walloping the ball past Drazen Ladic from outside the box.

3 Brazil break an unwanted 74-year record


AP:Associated Press

After having their reputation blended up and guzzled down by Germany in the semis, Brazil had plenty of pride to play for in the third-place play-off in 2014.

Which makes the selection of Jo even more bizarre.

Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands were in no mood for mercy.

Neither was the referee, who awarded the Dutch an early penalty despite the fact a) Arjen Robben performed a trademark dive and b) the contact occurred two yards outside the box.

Robin van Persie converted and when Daley Blind made it 2-0 after 16 minutes, a traumatising deja vu looked possible.

It ended 3-0 and the home fans booed their side off the field — a first for a third-place play-off.

4 Henrik Larsson’s glorious dreadlocks

One of about eight men in all of history capable of pulling off this look

One of about eight men in all of history capable of pulling off this look

Bulgaria were ‘doing a Brazil’ when David Luiz was just a schoolboy.

Hristo Stoichkov and his band of merry men were 4-0 down at half-time against Sweden in 1994, thanks in part to Larsson and his distinctive barnet.

The Swedes took it easy after the restart with no goals being scored in the second half, somewhat sparing Bulgaria’s blushes.

5 Hakan Sukur’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment

Getting on with things

2002 AP
Getting on with things

10.8 seconds.

That’s how long it took Turkey’s Hakan Sukur to open the scoring in 2002 — quite the effort considering South Korea kicked off.

The game was a thriller from start to finish with both teams (rare visitors to the late stages) giving it everything.

After half an hour the score was 3-1 to Turkey — Song Chong-Gug’s injury-time goal made it 3-2 but Turkey held on for the bronze medal.

FUN FACT: Sukur’s post-football political allegiances means he is no longer welcome in his home country, under threat of death.

6 A sad goodbye and one-World Cup wonder

What a month…

AFP - Getty
What a month…

You’ve heard of one-season wonders but how about a one-World Cup wonder?

Salvatore Schillaci scored seven international goals in his career and six of them came at the 1990 World Cup.

The Italian forward scored his sixth of the tournament in the third-place play-off against England to clinch the Golden Boot.

Italy won 2-1 as a rare Peter Shilton mistake gifted the hosts a goal — it was the legendary goalkeeper’s last game for England and his 125th cap.

7 The tale of the two Jabulani whisperers

He’s coming for you, Miroslav Klose…

Action Images - Reuters
He’s coming for you, Miroslav Klose…

In 2010, everyone was losing their minds about the World Cup ball.

Adidas’ Jabulani was supposedly bending around corners like a bullet in the Matrix or that terrible Angelina Jolie film.

Thomas Muller and Diego Forlan tamed the beast, finishing the tournament with the Golden Boot and Golden Ball respectively.

Both scored in the third-place play-off between Germany and Uruguay, which ended 3-2 to Muller and co.

Forlan struck the bar with a devilish free-kick, the last touch of the game, denying us all what would have been an entertaining extra-time.

Long live the third-place play-offs!

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