'Erdinger-Talk 2013'

Franz Beckenbauer questions need for World Cup third-place playoff


Franz Beckenbauer took to the Twitter airwaves today to ponder whether the World Cup third-place playoff is truly needed. Brazil play Netherlands today for the chance at a third-place medal, but Beckenbauer wonders if that even makes sense:

The 68-year-old, currently a pundit for Sky Germany, certainly has experience in such matters. He played for West Germany from 1965 to 1977, then managed the team from 1984 to 1990. During that time, West Germany won lifted the World Cup twice, and came second two times. They also were the third-place winners in 1970.

In 1970, West Germany fell 4-3 to Italy after added extra time, with five goals scored in the additional thirty minutes. The match took place three days after the Germans beat England 3-2, also in added extra time. Three days later, they faced off against Uruguay for the dubious honor of third place. That match featured just one goal, from Wolfgang Overath, scored in the 26th minute.

It is easy to see why players and coaches would consider the match between the losers of the semifinals to be rather pointless. What matters is lifting the World Cup, not determining who might be the third-best. Indeed, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal made a similar point, saying:

This match should never be played. I’ve been saying that for 10 years; it’s unfair. There is only one award that counts and that is becoming world champions.

However, the third-place match has been played since the 1934 tournament, so it’s unlikely it’s going away any time soon. Fortunately for the fans, if not the teams, the game is typically a fun one. The match in 1970 may not have been a thriller, but in four of the past five tournaments, there have been at least four goals scored in the penultimate match.

How many do you think there will be today?

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.