Tournaments are an effective means of incentivising participants to ensure an optimal level of effort. However, situations can occur in tournaments where the final outcome of a given competitor does not depend on his/her future performance. Specifically, we study these specific situations in a data set of the group stages of European football club competitions from 1992 to 2009. We identify situations where teams are already sure to finish either first or last at the penultimate stage in the group. We show that such situations affect team performance in the last match, typically decreasing the performance of a team sure to finish first and increasing the performance of a team sure to finish last. The first finding is in line with the economic predictions yet provides interesting implications, namely that the schedule of the match order plays a significant role in the overall performance of the team. The second, counter-intuitive, finding is not well accommodated into the existing economics framework and thus we discuss two
alternative explanations, one based on social pressure and the other on pride.