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Will Euro 2024 have a third place playoff round?

Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands all booked their places in the Euro 2024 Semi-Finals over the weekend, but will there be a third place playoff round in this year’s tournament?

The Semi-Finalists of Euro 2024 were decided over Friday & Saturday, with penalties being the deciding factor in two of the Quarter-Final clashes.

Tournament hosts Germany managed to buy themselves a way into extra time in their matchup with Spain, with Florian Wirtz’s 89th minute strike bringing them level after trailing 1-0 for the majority of the second half.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side were however stung with a late goal themselves, with Spain’s Mikel Merino delivering a wonderful headed goal with just 3 minutes to go of the additional 30.

Spain send hosts Germany crashing out of Euro 2024 - but will there be a third place playoff round?
Mikel Merino sends hosts Germany crashing out of Euro 2024 in extra time. Image credit: India Today

The hosts tried to make the most of the precious little time they had left, however a golden opportunity to take the game to penalties missed by Niclas Fullkrug seconds before the final whistle saw the Germans crash out of the competition.

Portugal met France in their Quarter-Final leg of Euro 2024, with the full 120 minutes plus stoppages being played with nothing to separate the two sides.

The inevitable penalty shootout came around, with the French striking first and seeing all 5 of their takers (Theo Hernàndez, Bradley Barcola, Jules Koundé, Youssouf Fofana, Ousmane Dembélé) find the back of the net.

Roberto Martinez’s Portugal were not so fortunate, with their third kick taker João Félix seeing his strike ricochet back off the post, eventually seeing his side crash out of the competition.

Teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe were seen consoling one another after crashing out of what is likely their final ever Euros tournament representing Portugal.

Portugal lose to France in their Euro 2024 quarter final - will they get a shot via a third place playoff?
Portugal lose to France via penalties in their Euro 2024 Quarter-Final. Image credit: The Independent

On Saturday, England took on Switzerland in another Quarter-Final that would eventually be resolved via a penalty shootout.

It was the Swiss who struck first in this Euro 2024 clash, having had the better of the game before Breel Embolo clipped the ball into the back of England’s net in the 75th minute.

Gareth Southgate made immediate changes following Embolo’s finish, and England seemed to find a sense of urgency that they have been missing in recent showings.

It took just 5 minutes for the 3 Lions to equalise, coming from a scorching low strike from the edge of the box by Bukayo Saka.

Southgate’s men were far from home, however, and had to endure a tense final 10 minutes of the match, as well as an additional 30, which saw Switzerland push hard for the winning goal.

The match eventually made its way to penalties, where England’s young lions really showed their class.

The mistake that saw the Swiss lose the match came at the very start of the shootout, with a weak strike from Manuel Akanji pounced on by Jordan Pickford.

England takers Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, and Trent Alexander-Arnold each had ice in their veins on the night, delivering 5 perfect penalties and leaving no hope for the Swiss to get themselves back into the shootout, despite scoring on every occasion bar the first.

England booked their slot in the Euro 2024 Semi-Finals after beating Switzerland on penalties.
England booked their slot in the Euro 2024 Semi-Finals after beating Switzerland on penalties. Image credit: Reuters

The Netherlands joined England in the second Euro 2024 Semi-Final when they met Türkiye in battle later that same evening.

Ronald Koeman’s men went down 1-0 in the first half, after Türkiye’s Samet Akaydin found his way onto the end of a wonderful cross to nod the ball past Bart Verbruggen in the 35 minute.

The Turks held the lead for the rest of the first half, arguably having far better of the game than their Dutch counterparts, and continue to hold that lead for a good portion of the second half.

However, 70 minutes into the match the Netherlands utilised their own aerial presence, with Stefan de Vrij leaping to power an equaliser into the back of Türkiye’s net with 20 minutes to go.

Their equaliser signified a turning of the tables, and it took the Netherlands no more than 6 minutes to follow up on di Vrij’s finish and take the lead.

Cody Gakpo celebrated getting on the end of a fine ball across the face of goal from his teammate Denzel Dumfries – with the finish eventually being ruled an own goal by Türkiye’s Bert Müldür.

Türkiye pushed to reach their first ever Euros Semi-Final with the remaining 15 minutes or so, but Koeman’s men held out and booked their slot against England on the 10th of July.

The Netherlands will now play England in their Euro 2024 Semi-Final.
The Netherlands will now play England in their Euro 2024 Semi-Final. Image credit: The Seattle Times

Will there be a Euro 2024 third place playoff?

Now that the Euro 2024 Semi-Finalists have been decided, we’re sure that many of you (especially German, Turkish, Swiss, and Portuguese fans!) are wondering whether there will be a third place playoff in the competition.

The FIFA World Cup hosts a third place playoff to decide the bronze medalists of each year’s competition, so how does it work in the Euros?

Well, we have some bad news.

When the European Championship was first played in 1960, there was indeed a third place playoff round.

The Czechs beat hosts France on that very first occasion, with the Soviet Union winning the tournament, and Yugoslavia coming runner-up.

The tradition of the Euro third place playoff continued for 5 more tournaments, with Hungary, England, Belgium, Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia all winning bronze medals in Euros competitions in that time.

The first European Championship competition did have a third place playoff round. Euro 2024 will not have a third place playoff round.
The first European Championship competition did have a third place playoff round. Image credit:

However, as of the 1984 tournament held in France, the third place playoff round has ceased to exist.

The idea behind getting rid of this round is a simple one – UEFA decided that the very last thing any team would want to do, having crashed out of the tournament, is compete for a bronze medal.

Whilst that may be sound logic when it comes to protecting the players involved both mentally and physically, it is somewhat of a shame that we get one less high-stakes game during these tournaments.

Despite not getting a Euro 2024 third place playoff round, we can be thankful that FIFA World Cups (for now at least) still continue this tournament football tradition.