sides last met at this World Cup’s group stage and thus become the 5th
pair in the history of the tournament to meet again after the group stages. As
two teams from the group stages are placed in two different verticals of the
knockouts, they are expected to meet only in the final or the third-place play
While West Germany and Hungary (1954 WC) and Brazil and Czechoslovakia (1962 WC) met in
the finals after playing in the group stages, Belgium and England (2018) and
Croatia and Morocco (2022) were paired in the third-place play-off. The only
anomaly to this rule was in 2002 when Brazil and Turkey met in the semi-final
despite being from the same group.
of the four such round-robin meetings, the only time a team lost in the
group-stages to later win in knock-outs was in 1954 when Germany lost to
Hungary in the GS but got back to exact revenge and win the final. Brazil and
Belgium both won their group encounters as well as the knock-out matches
against Turkey and England.
Brazil vs Czechoslovakia
in 1962 and Croatia vs Morocco in 2022 are the only two instances of the five
where the group stage encounter ended in a draw. However, all the previous four
matches of this category have ended in normal-time victories and Saturday’s match
has a chance to break that record by entering extra-time and possibly even
For the Moroccans who are the first from Africa to make it to the last-four of the World Cup, a third-place finish here will be an icing on the cake.