After the Copa Libertadores is all set and done with River Plate winning it, we take a look at who will be the other participants to lift up the Club World Cup trophy.
This year’s FIFA Club World Cup will be celebrated in the United Arab Emirates; Making it the fourth time this tournament has been hosted there. In the previous times that the UAE have hosted the tournament, Barcelona (2009), Inter Milan (2010), and Real Madrid (2017) have lifted the beloved trophy.
This year’s Club World Cup will consist with the appearances of hosts Al-Ain, Team Wellington, Espérance de Tunis, Guadalajara, Kashima Antlers, River Plate, and Real Madrid. This tournament will start December 12th with an exciting match between UAE Host Al-Ain versus OFC Champions Team Wellington.
We take a look at how each team clinched their place in this year’s tournament:
The team from the United Arab Emirates, clinched their place in this year’s tournament by winning the 2017-18 UAE Pro-League with their most notable player being Marcus Berg the Swedish international scoring 25 goals in the season. Al-Ain in a 22 game season they got a record of 16 W’s 5 D’s and one loss. Scoring a total of 65 goals in the season they had the most goals out of all teams participating making it their 13th Championship retaining it from their previous championship in 2015. This is their first appearance in this competition. Their debut in the competition will be against Team Wellington the OFC Champions.
Team Wellington (OCF):
The New Zealanders clinched their spot by winning the OFC Champions League by beating the Fiji side Lautoka FC in a home and away match-basis 10-3. This making it the first time that Team Wellington has conquered the OFC Champions League. One surprising fact is who they eliminated from the tournament was Auckland City who’d won the OFC Champions League seven times in a row previous to their elimination. They faced Auckland in the semifinals where they tied 2-2 on aggregate with Team Wellington eliminating them on the away goals rule. Angus Kilkolly was their top scorer in the competition scoring a total of eight goals alongside Auckland City’s Emiliano Taden. Their debut will come against Al-Ain the tournament’s host.
Espérance de Tunis (CAF)
The Tunisian side will be making their second appearance in the tournament after their last performance in 2011 finishing sixth in the tournament after loosing to Mexican side Monterrey 3-2. They clinched their spot after conquering the CAF 2018 Champions league beating Egyptian side Al-Ahly 4-3 on aggregate. The top-scorer from the competition was one of their own Anice Badri scoring a total of eight goals. Espérance de Tunis will be making their debut against the winner between the match of Al-Aid and Team Wellington.
Club Deportivo Guadalajara (CONCACAF)
After clinching their second CONCACAF Champions league. Las Chivas Rayadas will be making their first appearance in this tournament. In an exciting game against Toronto FC, Chivas won the championship after a 3-3 aggregate they went on to win it 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out. Now a Real Oviedo player Oswaldo Alanís and still a Chivas player José Macías both got two goals for Chivas in the whole tournament. Chivas will make their debut against Japanese side Kashima Antlers. This will be a good game for the Mexican side to finally get a team strong enough to beat Real Madrid, that is if they beat their Japanese opponents first.
Kashima Antlers (AFC)
The Japanese side clinched their spot after winning the 2018 AFC Champions League beating in a aggregate score of 2-0 against Iranian side Persepolis. Making this their first championship in this competition, it will not be their first participation as they already participated back in 2016. They went on to the final after beating CONMEBOL’s Champion and Colombian side Atlético Nacional 3-0. Unfortunately, they would loose the final against Real Madrid 4-2 after the first 90 minutes ended in a 2-2 draw. Brazilian Serginho scored five goals in the competition. They will be making their debut against Mexican side Chivas hoping to beat the Mexicans and getting their re-match against Real Madrid.
River Plate (CONMEBOL)
The Argentinian side went on to clinch their spot after beating their rivals Boca Juniors in one of the most waited games of this century. They are now tied with four Copa Libertadores Championships with fellow Argentinian team Estudiantes de La Plata. This will be their second appearance after their last performance back in 2015 where they lost in the final against FC Barcelona 3-0. This time River Plate are looking for this prestigious trophy as they almost got it once, they will need to fight for it to make South America happy again. The last time a CONMEBOL team was champion was back in 2012 when Brazilian side Corinthians beat Chelsea 1-0. River Plate will make their debut against the winner between , Espérance de Tunis and the winner between Al-Ain against Team Wellington. Their top-goalscorer has been Lucas D. Pratto with a total of four goals in the competition.
Real Madrid (UEFA)
13 time UEFA Champions League winners and three-time consecutive champions, Real Madrid are back looking to claim the world. Madrid clinched their spot beating Liverpool back in May in that epic final in Kiev. This will be their fifth participation in the tournament. Real Madrid are looking to clinch their third consecutive Club World Cup Championship after previously winning it back in 2014, 2016, and 2017. They will be making their debut against the winner of Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara and Japanese side Kashima Antlers. Cristiano Ronaldo was their top goalscorer with 15 goals in the competition. How will the Merengues do without their former star?
This will be one of the most exciting Club World Cups ever as it can be record breaking with too many teams being eligible to make history. Fans all across the world will be tuning in into this competition filled with starts having the chance to rise up in the big lights.
As this competition is getting close the UAE and their fans are more than eager to receive these champions and their magic in football. December 12th cannot come any closer where seven continental champions will battle it out for world glory.