IF Harry Kane, Harry Maguire et al need any further incentive going into tomorrow night’s World Cup semi-final it surely comes with the chance to avoid a match that no player wants to contest.
The third-place play-off at a World Cup has thrown up some decent tales down the years, such as when Turkey’s Hakan Sukur broke the record for the quickest World Cup goal 16 years ago as South Korea were beaten 3-2 or the day Brazil were humbled by Grzegorz Lato and Poland in 1974.
But it can often be a game where both teams, smarting from missing out on the final, would prefer to be anywhere else.
“Everyone wanted to be at home,” said Tony Dorigo about the 1990 play-off against Italy that saw the left-back start in place of Stuart Pearce. “Especially so soon after losing on penalties in the semi. Two or three of the lads were in bits, Pearcey and Chris Waddle among them.
“It didn’t matter what you said, they could not be lifted. Having to hang around like we did is not ideal. No-one wanted to play another game.”
Dorigo, making his fourth appearance for the Three Lions in that 2-1 defeat to the Italians in Bari, added: “On a personal note, I hadn’t played in any of our World Cup matches so that third-placed play-off proved to be one of my best memories. I was up against the Italian captain Giuseppe Bergomi for the full 90 minutes. We had a good tussle and I was really pleased to provide the cross for David Platt to score our goal.
“Anyway, afterwards a few of the lads were trying to swap their shirt with him. Gary Lineker tried and so did a couple of others but Giuseppe said ‘no’. I could see this happening as I headed down towards the tunnel.
“Suddenly, he started waving in my direction. I presumed he was waving at someone behind me so didn’t react. But then he came over, said he wanted to swap shirts with me because we had been in direct opposition. I said ‘yes’ to his request, so then he asked for my shorts and socks. I replied, ‘Yes, but nothing else!’
“I still have the full kit. A lovely memory.”
I was up against the Italian captain Giuseppe Bergomi for the full 90 minutes. We had a good tussle and I was really pleased to provide the cross for David Platt to score our goal.Tony Dorigo