The Definitive Consolation Match Preview!

Here at NPI, we’ve pretty much proven beyond a reasonable doubt that we’re not exactly your go-to source for soccer information. That said, when it comes time for the World Cup Consolation Match between Germany and Uruguay this afternoon, who is your go-to source of information? We are stunned and indeed saddened by the dearth of hype for this all-important game. This is our attempt to remedy that void, with both a Beginner’s Guide to Consolation Matches and a preview of the game itself.

Who or what is a ‘consolation match’? Well, the teams that get pretty far but not to the championship get to play another game anyway, for, you know, consolation. It’s actually a pretty cute idea, isn’t it?

How is this in any way consoling? If you win, you finish in third.

And if you lose? Fourth.

And if the game didn’t take place? You’d NEVER know!

But couldn’t you kind of dance around that and be all, “Yeah, we pretty much finished in third.” Seems pretty disingenuous to me.

So, umm, when did this game start? The World Cup has had a Consolation Game ever since its second edition, way back in 1934. Consolation Games, in general, were invented earlier in the 20th century by the same guy who later popularized the Participation Certificate.

Wait just a minute. Didn’t the U.S. finish third in the 1930 World Cup? Yeah, about that…

…and there was no Consolation Match…: So, apparently in 1986, FIFA just decided the U.S. finished ahead of fourth-place Yugoslavia, seemingly with no rhyme or reason (since the U.S. didn’t even lose in the semis to eventual champion Uruguay). But, FIFA clearly knew Yugoslavia wouldn’t be around much longer, so why not give it to the U.S.?

Did we get faux bronze medals or something out of this? If so, aren’t they like the Bizarro Silver Medals from the ’72 Munich Games that we didn’t accept? No and yes.

Should we have accepted those silvers? NO. Anyone who thinks LeBron’s “Decision” was a “travesty to sports” should go back to Munich. A few bad things happened there…

Awkward…: Yeah, I suppose I can’t get too upset about the U.S. being gypped out of a gold medal, all things considered.

With consolation matches, do they happen anywhere else? They were quite popular in week-long basketball camps I used to attend.

Anywhere that counts? Not since 1981, when the NCAA Tournament ditched its. The NFL had one in the ‘60s just to have a second playoff game aside from the Championship, but it wasn’t held in high esteem.

Who would denounce such a thing? I believe it was Vince Lombardi who called it “The Shit Bowl.”

I thought that was the old bowl game they played at Giants Stadium? Zing! Although to be honest, the Consolation Match’s closest analogue in American sports is probably the Holiday Bowl. It always has two teams that are disappointed to be there because they were probably screwed by the BCS, they usually don’t really care that much, the stakes are low, and so they generally play a very exciting, high-scoring game. Especially if Barry Sanders is involved.

Is that Bob Carpenter calling that game? It sounds like him, doesn’t it? I wonder when Bob’s going to come out with the definitive football scorebook, too.

Can we expect this Consolation Match to be as entertaining as Bob Carpenter calling Barry Sanders’ five-TD game? Well, we can’t really expect ANYTHING to match that, can we? But this will be fairly entertaining, even to a professed soccer hater such as myself. As you may have noticed over the course of this World Cup, soccer is a lot more interesting when teams aren’t so scared of losing (like, when they’re in the Group Stage playing anyone besides North Korea). And since the match is meaningless (unless you find enough meaning in “consolation”), it should be fairly open.

Should be? Well, Uruguay still plays a more defensive style. That said, Diego Forlán and Luis Suárez are a nice pair of forwards who can score quickly.

They’re letting that dick Suárez play? Whoa, calm it down there. Of course. Dude got them to the semis.

Yeah, by cheating! He’s not Thierry Henry, Carlos Tévez, Diego Maradona, or Brianna Scurry. He paid the price for that handball with Ghana getting the PK and Suárez missing the semi. Plus, he had that really cool goal against South Korea. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

I guess that’s why we kinda do, eh? Yeah, sure.

Okay, best part of this game is…? What else did you expect? The uniforms! Especially if the Germans break out the blacks again. Uruguay’s blues might be the best in the Cup.

And who wins? The Consolation Match? Who cares?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wey on July 10, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    I remember when GW used to be all over the consolation game in the BB&T classic…at least that’s how I remember it…see, it does mean something…just ask Tom Penders…

    Reply

  2. Posted by Wey on July 10, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    on second thought, my memory of said preseason basketball tournament appears to be WILDLY inaccurate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BB%26T_Classic_Basketball_Tournament#Tournament_results

    Reply

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