The World Cup third/fourth-place play-off match is one that no nation wishes to contest, with the bronze medal awarded to the best team not to make the final considered no consolation for failure to reach the career-defining showpiece.
Judging from Louis van Gaal’s comments on the tournament’s penultimate fixture, it’s fair to say were his Oranje side not involved, he wouldn’t be deviating from his Saturday night TV routine in order to take it in.
“This has got nothing to do whatsoever with sport, in my view,” proclaimed the inbound Manchester United boss, falling just short of saying, “I can’t believe ITV cancelled Take Me Out for this.”
Mr Van Gaal may consider it as nothing but an obstacle between participants and their deckchairs, but traditionally the bronze-medal decider is laced with excitement, a 90-minute thrill-ride that typically outdoes the final in the entertainment stakes.
Here’s why the Champions League-winning gaffer’s sentiments are incorrect regarding the game his charges are priced at 2/1 to win:
It is, almost without exception, an unadulterated, no holds barred goal-fest.
The tie of tears has seen the net bulge a staggering 38 times since 1974, which was the last instalment that saw fewer than 2.5 goals registered.
Rood health is a prerequisite for scoreboard operators of the third-place encounter, especially this century, where the onion bag has been filled 14 times in three World Cups.
It makes backing over 3.5 goals when the Netherlands face Brazil a must at 5/4.
Spectators can run the rule over the sparingly-used squad members.
This fixture hands fledgling football hipsters the opportunity to get acquainted with those players they first became familiar with through extensive scouting excursions on Football Manager.
Terrace loudmouths will finally have some credence behind their formerly fabricated views on the strengths and weaknesses of Terence Kongolo and they’ll have the third/fourth-place play-off to thank for that.
It’s a breeding ground for unexpected names to get on the scoresheet.
If an anytime goalscorer wager takes the fancy, consider the nether regions of the market before rushing in with a bet on the short-price players.
South Korean anchorman Song Chong-gug pasted one of his three international goals into the scrapbook after the 2002 third-place game, Bastian Schweinsteiger bagged a rare brace in the 2006 instalment and countryman Marcel Jansen notched one of his trio of die Mannschaft strikes as part of the festivities in 2010.
Niche goal-getters point to bumper paydays for the punters, so don’t be scared of the 12/1 about the likes of Dante or Bruno Martins Indi celebrating here.