World Cup 2022 – Third Place Match Date, Kickoff Time, and History

With 2022 World Cup nearly coming to its inevitable end, the focus is, as usual, on the grand finale, with the third place matchup hanging in the shadow.

However, we've seen some interesting third place playoff games in previous World Cup iterations and, while it is only a consoling prize, being third in the entire world sure sounds better than being fourth.

So, we wanted to put some focus on this particular game and two teams that earned their place in it by fighting hard and punching above their weight – Croatia and Morocco.

World Cup Qatar – Third Place Fixture

Before we take a closer look at the teams that will meet in the game for third place in Qatar, let's take a look first at some of the most importnat information regarding the game:

Kickoff Time: Saturday, December 17th, 15:00 UK, 16:00 CET.

Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan


Referee: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (Qatar)


Third Place Play-Off: Croatia vs Morocco

Not many people expected to see these two nations fighting for the third place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, nearly a month after their meeting in group stages, Croatia and Morocco will once again meet, this time in a much more important fixture.

Croatia – How They Got Here

Four years after their biggest success in history and reaching the final at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Croatia was once again seen as the dark horse and not one of the main favourites. The team was placed in Group F, along with Belgium, Morocco, and Canada, which was seen as the toughest group before the start of the tournament.

Croatia started their journey in Qatar the same way they will end it – with a duel against Morocco. In group stages, these two teams played a scoreless game, which was a result they were fine with at the start. After that, Croatia beat Canada 4-1 and they were on the brink of next stage. Still, then needed to at least draw with Belgium in the last round and while the game nearly got away from Croatia, the final score was 0-0.

Croatia Fans

So, Croatia secured second place in their group and a duel with Japan in the Round of 16. While Japan took the lead, Croatia pulled back and took the game to overtime and, eventually, penalties. More experienced and composed, the Croatians got to the quarter finals where they were due to play the main favourite of the tournament, Brazil. Once again, Croatia went behind, this time late in overtime, but again, they pulled back and then beat their opponent on penalties.

In the semi finals, Argentina was the better team of the two and they ended up winning 3-0. Still, a somewhat questionable penalty opened Croatia up. If it weren't' for that, maybe we would've seen a different game.

Morocco – How They Got Here

Despite being one of the better African teams, Morocco went through a turbulence ahead of the World Cup, including coaching change and return of some key players who weren't a part of the team for a while, like Hakim Ziyech. On top of that, Morocco was in a group with second and third team at the previous World Cup, Croatia and Belgium, and a team full of potential, Canada.

Still, Morocco started the group stages with a scoreless draw against Croatia, which was seen as a bit of an upset. However, that was nothing compared to their 2-0 win over Belgium that put the tem close to reaching the next stage. A 2-1 win over Canada confirmed this and Morocco got to the Round of 16 as the top team from their group.

Morocco Fans

In the Round of 16, Morocco again faced a tough opponent – Spain. However, they held the Spaniards to a scoreless draw and then eliminated them on penalties. In the quarter finals, Morocco was the underdog again against Portugal, but after another memorable performance and a 1-0 win, they became the first African team to reach the semi finals at World Cups.

Unfortunately for Morocco, their improbable run ended there. The defending champions France won the game 2-0, but Morocco was not the inferior team in this game. An early goal by the French broke their strategy and forced them to attack, which they did well, but failed to convert any of their chances.

Why Do We Have a Third Place Match at World Cup?

During it's rich history, the third place game suffered a lot of critique, with people calling the game unnecessary and uninspiring, saying that the two teams who play in it usually don't want to be there after just losing on their semi final matches.

However, the team that wins this match gets a bronze medal, while the losing team is left with nothing but disappointment, which should be enough to ensure competitiveness in the game. Yes, the teams usually enter this game tired and under stress after semi final losses, but that doesn't mean that they don't give their best in this match.

Croatia vs Morocco

That being said, the main reason why this game exist in the first place is, you guessed it, money. FIFA keeps the third place play-off around despite the criticism because of sponsors and TV deals. Meanwhile, the cash prize that the national teams receive from this game keeps the federations  interested as well.

Brief History of the Third Place Match at World Cups

You may be surprised to learn that the third place play-off game was a part of the World Cup history since 1954. This was the year when teams played a single game to determine who finishes third at a World Cup and Austria won that match 3-1 against Uruguay.

The team with the most wins in third place matches is Germany, who ended up winning three of them so far – in 1970, 2006, and 2010. Croatia has a chance to get a win in a third place game for the second time in their history, having done so already in France in 1998.

Probably one of the most exciting third place matches in history was a duel between France and Belgium at the 1986 World Cup, which France won 4-2 and which was the first third place game to go into overtime.

Third Place Match FAQs

Which teams will meet in the World Cup 3rd place playoff?

Croatia and Morocco will play for third place in Qatar.

Where will the third place match be televised in the UK?

You will be able to watch the World Cup finals on BBC One.

Can I already bet on the World Cup 3rd place game?

Yes, the odds are already out for the game.

Where will the third place game be played?

The match will be played at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.