“Utter stupidity. The last thing any player wants” – Alan Shearer, 2018.
“This match should never be played” – Louis van Gaal, 2014.
“For us it was amazing to finish third ahead of some of the greatest teams in the world. It confirmed what a great World Cup we had and it was a nice way to finish” – Davor Suker, 1998.
As a hungover England contemplates the prospect of a third-place play-off with Belgium on Saturday, most will probably agree with Shearer, who tweeted his dismay about the fixture on Thursday, and with van Gaal, who was speaking in 2014 before leading Holland against Brazil in the battle for bronze.
But not everybody has hated it: Suker, for one, whose Croatia team finished third in 1998, establishing the country on the footballing map, or Sweden, who returned home in 1994 to national celebrations.
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