Third place playoff

A third place match, game for third place, bronze medal game or consolation game is a single match that is included in many sporting knockout tournaments to decide which competitor or team will be credited with finishing third and fourth. The teams that compete in the third place playoff game are usually the two losing semi-finalists in a particular knockout tournament.

Many tournaments use the third place playoff to determine who wins the bronze medal. In some tournaments, a third place playoff is necessary for seeding purposes if three or all four semi-finalists advance to another tournament.

In tournaments that do not award medals or have the third place finisher advance to something else, a third place playoff is a classification match that serves little more than as a consolation to the losing semi-finalists. A consolation game also allows teams to play more than one game after having invested time, effort and money in the quest for a championship. Third place playoffs held as such consolation games are subject to debate. Many sports tournaments do not have a third place playoff due to a lack of interest. It has been criticised by some who feel that the match serves little purpose, but others see this game as an occasion for the losing semi-finalists to salvage some pride. How seriously the competitors or teams take a third place playoff, may also be mixed: a heavily favoured team that lost in an upset in the semi-final round may not have as much incentive to win as would a "Cinderella" team who was not expected to advance that far.

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