There’s no shame in finishing third.
Some pretty big names were bounced out of the World Cup in the group stages, none more so than Germany.
Yes, we will mention that forever.
Anyway, moving on.
Finishing third in your group and just missing out is a bitter pill to swallow, and some can definitely count themselves unlucky.
A few sides actually would have gone through with their points and goal difference total, had they been in another group.
Iran and Senegal for example, both would have gone through over Argentina had they been in Group D.
We’re all familiar with the process that sees clubs that finish third in their Champions League group, fall into the Europa League.
So, why not apply that to the World Cup and have our very own tournament of losers!
So, before ado is furthered, we present you with the inaugural World Cup of losers.
Who makes the cut
This lot were spanked 5-0 by Russia in the opening game of tournament in what was a shocking performance.
They did however respond to their humiliation.
Saudi Arabia proceeded to give Uruguay a run for their money in their second group game but came up just short in a 1-0 defeat.
They then caused an upset in their dead-rubber final game against Egypt.
Against all the odds they came up trumps and beat Mohamed Salah and co 2-1.
They broke Moroccan hearts when they benefited from a 96th minute own goal to win their opening group game.
Iran followed that up with a performance of pure s***housery against Spain in their second game – sitting every man and his dog behind the ball.
Spain eventually got the victory for football’s sake after they broke the deadlock late on.
Iran’s defensive tactics then almost knocked out Portugal in dramatic fashion in their final game.
Getting a 1-1 draw against the European champions is no mean feat, so full marks for effort… well, sort of.
Peru were one of the surprise packages of the World Cup.
The South Americans were unlucky to lose 1-0 against Denmark in their first group game, as they missed a host of chances, including a penalty.
Peru were again unlucky in their second game against France, losing 1-0 for their second game running.
They showed their true potential in a comfortable 2-0 win over Australia.
If only they had brought their shooting boots along earlier in the tournament.
They arrived at the World Cup in incredible fashion, literally, yet they flattered to deceive on the pitch.
Nigeria were comfortably beaten by Croatia in their first game, before they steadied the ship in their second against Iceland.
Victor Moses scored from the spot as Nigeria tried their best to cause an upset against Argentina.
Lionel Messi and co however had just enough to navigate themselves through to the knockout stages and send Nigeria packing.
Tipped by many as a dark horse at the World Cup, Serbia disappointed by falling at the first hurdle.
They beat Costa Rica 1-0 in their first group game but a fiery encounter against Switzerland was lost in the 90th minute.
The defeat meant that Serbia needed to overcome Brazil to progress from the group, which they failed to do, losing 2-0 against Tite’s side.
They were meant to be the whipping boys of the group who would pick up zero points.
It didn’t exactly work out that way though, did it.
Despite losing to Sweden and Mexico, South Korea had the perfect end to their World Cup journey.
Against all the odds they orchestrated a spectacular win against the World Champions Germany.
South Korea eliminated Joachim Low’s side and actually toppled them to third place in the group.
One of England’s opponents in Group G, Tunisia almost held the Three Lions to a draw in their opening group game.
Tunisia were steamrolled by Belgium 5-2 in their second game, before rounding off their campaign with a 2-1 win against Panama.
A far more competent team than we all first thought, but still not all that. Fair play.
The Lions of Teranga quickly became everyone’s ‘second team’ at the World Cup.
Senegal’s barnstorming attacking style and pre-match antics made it impossible to dislike them.
A 1-0 win against Poland filled the nation with hope, before a 2-2 draw with Japan left Senegal still in control of their World Cup fate.
They were beaten however 1-0 by Colombia in their final game and failed to make it out of the group in the harshest way possible.
Fair Play points decided Senegal’s fate and because they had two more yellow cards than Japan, they were sent packing. Cruel.
Iran v Saudi Arabia
This one was the dullest game of the quarter final draw and it firmly lives up to that tag.
Iran end up winning 1-0, courtesy of yet another stoppage-time own goal. Typical Iran.
They celebrate widely in the faces of the Saudi Arabian players, which prompts an almighty scrap after the final whistle.
Iran progress to the semi finals.
Peru v Nigeria
These two made up arguably the most tightly contested of the quarter-finals on paper.
The clash finishes 2-2 after 90 minutes and extra-time is needed to separate the sides.
John Obi Mikel scores the winner in the 115th minute, banging a 30-yard thunderbastard into the top corner.
Serbia v South Korea
South Korea were buoyed after their memorable win over Germany, but that momentum was not enough to overcome Serbia.
Aleksandar Kolarov scores a free-kick in a 1-0 victory, but Aleksandar Mitrovic picks up a straight red card after a flying headbutt on the referee.
He will now miss the semi final, but Serbia progress.
Tunisia v Senegal
The two African sides, who both won plaudits during the group stages, play out a dull 1-1 draw in 90 minutes.
Sadio Mane then proves to be the difference and scores a winner in extra-time.
The Liverpool man’s goal seals Senegal’s place in the semi final, against Serbia.
Iran v Nigeria
Iran try their hardest to sit everyone behind the ball again.
Thankfully for everyone watching, Nigeria started inform Mikel upfront and he makes light work of the defensive wall.
The former Chelsea man scores twice in a 3-0 win and celebrates his winning goal by replicating the somersault throw-in.
Nigeria book their place in the final.
Serbia v Senegal
Without Mitrovic, Serbia struggle to pose any real attacking threat against Senegal.
M’Baye Niang, whose yellow cards cost his side in the group stages, silences his critics.
The former Watford man scores an impressive hat-trick as Senegal win 3-0 and confirm their place in the final against Nigeria.
Niang is subsequently linked with a transfer to Man United.
Nigeria v Senegal
In an all African encounter, both sides thrill supporters with an end-to-end clash.
Senegal win 2-1 courtesy of a late Kalidou Koulibaly header.
The winning-goal causes an earth tremor in the Senegal Capital Dakar, with scenes reminiscent of his late winner for Napoli against Juventus.
There are no complaints about the winner, as everyone agrees Senegal were fraudulently bounced out of the actual World Cup.
Thankfully, for England’s sake, we don’t have to mess around in any fictional mini World Cup.
We’re still in the actual thing and it’s definitely coming home.