2017 FIFA Club World Cup: All you need to know about the tournament

0 66

The 2017 FIFA Club World Cup will be the 14th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup, a FIFA-organised international club football tournament between the champion clubs from each of the six continental confederations, as well as the national league champion from the host country. The tournament will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates. FIFA Club world cup starts on 6th December and ends on 16th December. Abu Dhabhi and Al-Ain were selected as the Host cities. It was the second time UAE hosting FIFA Club WC, previously it has hosted in 2010.
Al-Jazira had won the 2016-17 UAE Pro-League was qualified to the tournament as the National league champion from the host country.
The remaining six champion club from the confederation are as follows.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid from UEFA Confederation have qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2016-17 UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid are the defending champions.Real Madrid was the first defending champions to qualify for the subsequent tournament.
Real Madrid may have won 33 Liga titles (more than any other Spanish club), 19 Copa del Rey titles, 3 Intercontinental Cups, 2 FIFA Club World Cups, and – to their fans’ pride and joy – 12 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, but the club’s greatness is only partly explained by the large number of resplendent trophies in their cabinet. For a complete picture of their glorious 115-year history, one must add unforgettable goals and play, mythical comebacks and legendary matches, featuring some of the most talented footballers the world has ever seen. In just his second season (and first full campaign) at the helm of Los Blancos, Zinedine Zidane has continued to make his mark on the team. While in 2016, after only six months in the hot-seat, he guided his charges to an 11th European crown and capped off the year with victories in the UEFA Super Cup in Norway and the Club World Cup in Japan, in 2017 he steered them to their first Laliga triumph in five seasons and helped them become the first team to claim back-to-back Champions League titles. In fact, it took a mere 20 European matches for Zidane to capture two Champions League crowns – a new record. The Frenchman’s astute management of a star-studded squad, featuring a rotation policy that enabled key figures to rest at crucial times, was a critical factor in the team hitting peak form at the end of the season. Following their latest European success, Real Madrid, who are traditionally expected to win every competition they enter, can still pick up three additional trophies this year: the UEFA Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and, most importantly, the Club World Cup, where they could again make history, as no team has ever emerged victorious from the tournament two years running. In addition, if they were to secure the global crown in the United Arab Emirates, Los Merengues would equal Barcelona’s haul of three Club World Cups (won in 2009, 2011 and 2015)

Key Players
Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Urawa Red Diamonds

Urawa Red Diamonds from AFC Confederation have qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2017 AFC Champions League.
Urawa Red Diamonds are no strangers to the international scene, having booked an appearance at the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup. Their last global entrance marked their golden era in which they claimed their only domestic J.League title in 2006, before going on to clinch the AFC Champions League title the next year. Playing as hosts in their global debut a decade ago, the Reds impressed the watching world by finishing third. In the process, they started brightly by beating fellow Asian participants Sepahan of Iran 3-1. In the semi-finals, Urawa were defeated by eventual champions AC Milan by a solitary goal. Despite the defeat, the home side bounced back to overcome Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel on penalties in the third-place play-off.
Mihailo Petrovic was responsible for taking Urawa beyond the group stage, during which they finished section winners to reach the knockout phase. But with the Serbian coach stepping down in the middle of this season, Takafumi Hori took up the reigns tasked with guiding the team to their second Asian title. Under the former midfielder, Urawa showed improved performances as they remained undefeated throughout the knockout phase en route to the title. The defence, led by captain Yuki Abe, has proven to be a solid unit, and spearheading the attacking-line is Brazilian Rafael Silva, who finished as the tournament’s second top-scorer with nine goals. Driving the midfield is the talented Yosuke Kashiwagi, who earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. Captain Abe is only one of two players on the team who featured during Urawa’s last FIFA Club World Cup appearance ten years ago, the other being midfielder Tadaaki Hirakawa. Having already made his international baptism of fire, the 36-year-old summed up the team’s expectations for UAE 2017: ”The team can make good progress if they have the opportunity to play against the world’s best teams in the Club World Cup. To reach the Club World Cup, the whole team fought hard together, and I’m just so happy we’ve become Asian champions for a second time.”

Key Players
Shusaku Nishikawa, Yosuke Kashiwagi, Kazuki Nagasawa, Yuki Abe, Rafael Silva

Auckland City FC

The Navy Blues from OFC Confederation have qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2017 OFC Champions League.
Auckland City FC are old hands at the FIFA Club World Cup having competed at more tournaments than other club, even though they were only founded in 2004. And the Navy Blues have constantly held their own on the world stage, despite their semi-professional status. Without doubt the highlight was at Morocco 2014 where the club went on a stunning run before finishing third. Auckland only fell narrowly shy of an unlikely match-up against Real Madrid in the 2014 final having pushed South American champions San Lorenzo to extra time in the semi-final. Appearances in 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 resulted in single match showings with narrow defeats by J.League clubs on four occasions, plus against Egypt’s Al Ahly and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca. Abu Dhabi 2009 proved a breakthrough tournament as the New Zealanders beat both the host representatives, and the champions of Africa to claim fifth place. In 2016, Auckland City took the lead against Kashima Antlers before the J.League heavyweights came back to earn a last-gasp 2-1 win. Auckland City are by far New Zealand and Oceania’s best performing team of the modern era. The Navy Blues were crowned Oceania kings for the seventh consecutive time in May, extending their own global benchmark for any continental cup competition. They did, however, fail to win the New Zealand domestic competition earlier in the year after losing to Team Wellington in the championship decider. Auckland City’s 2017 Oceania campaign was dominant from the outset. After winning all their group games on home soil, Auckland defeated Tahiti’s AS Tefana 2-0 both home and away in the semi-final. They then claimed a confident 5-0 aggregate win over compatriots Team Wellington in the final.
Auckland’s squad has remained partly unchanged over the course of their current seven-year run at the Club World Cup, and those experienced players – plus a host of fresh personnel – should stand the side in good stead at UAE 2017. Their experienced Barcelona-born coach Ramon Tribulietx has constantly maintained a degree of Spanish and Latin influence in the side, most notably through defender Angel Berlanga and midfielder Albert Riera, as well as, more recently, goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai. Auckland boast a handful of the national league’s finest young local players plus a handful of former or current All Whites, while dynamic Solomon Islands midfielder Micah Lea’alafa adds some Pacific Islands’ flair.

Key Players
Mario Bilen, Micah Lea’alafa, Angel Berlanga, Albert Riera, Emiliano Tade


Grêmio from CONMEBOL Confederation have qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2017 Copa Libertadores.
The history of Gremio is closely linked to the Copa Libertadores de America. The Porto Alegre club’s previous tournament wins, in 1983 and 1995, were high points in two of their golden eras and catapulted them into the Brazilian elite. Known as O Rei de Copas (‘The King of Cups’), Gremio backed up the first of those Libertadores triumphs with victory in the Intercontinental Cup, the forerunner of the FIFA Club World Cup, a tournament the Brazilian side will be making their debut in courtesy of their 2017 Copa Libertadores win.
A hero of that 1983 success, coach Renato Gaucho set up a side that was perfectly suited to the Libertadores, prioritising balance and effectiveness in front of goal over jogo bonito. Gremio won six of their seven home matches and lost just one on the road, a defeat that came in the group phase. Goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe and Pedro Geromel excelled at the back, while midfielder Luan and front man Lucas Barrios were the key men going forward. Having pulled level with Sao Paulo and Santos as the most successful Brazilian sides in the history of the Copa Libertadores, Gremio are now looking to emulate their crosstown rivals Internacional, who lifted the Club World Cup in 2006. The first hurdle they will have to negotiate if they are to achieve that goal will come in the semi-finals, when they will face either Mexico’s Pachuca or Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.

Key Players
Marcelo Grohe, Pedro Geromel, Luan, Fernandinho, Arthur, Lucas Barrios.

C.F. Pachuca

C.F. Pachuca from CONCACAF Confederation has qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.
The arrival of the new millennium proved to be a turning point for Club de Futbol Pachuca, who emerged from Mexico’s second tier to become one of the most successful clubs in the country and the CONCACAF region. Such has been their transformation, in fact, that they are making their fourth FIFA Club World Cup appearance this year. Los Tuzos have yet to make much of an impression on the competition, however. On making their debut in 2007, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Etoile Sportive du Sahel. The following year they achieved their one and only win in normal time in the competition to date, beating Al Ahly before losing to Liga Universitaria de Quito and Gamba Osaka and eventually finishing fourth. On their last appearance, in 2010, the Mexicans lost their opening match to TP Mazembe but defeated Al Wahda on penalties to finish fifth.
Uruguayan coach Diego Alonso has put together a very solid side, one that impressed at both ends of the pitch in the CONCACAF Champions League. Miserly in defence and lethal up front, Pachuca owe much of their strength to Jonathan Urretaviscaya and Franco Jara, who was named the tournament’s best player. Playing with the same style both home and away, the Mexicans scored 16 of their 29 goals on the road. “When you play in the Club World Cup you know that you’ve made it to the international elite,” said Alonso after seeing his side lift the trophy. “I was obsessed about us getting there, and it was an objective of ours. We want to go there and truly compete.” Pachuca’s goal now will be to become the first Mexican side to reach the final of the competition.

Key Players
Alfonso Blanco, Oscar Murillo, Erick Gutierrez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Franco Jara.

Wydad Casablanca

Wydad Casablanca from CAF Confederation has qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2017 CAF Champions League.
Founded on 8 May 1937 by Mohamed Benjelloun and Lahcene Tounsi (who was better known as Father Jego), Wydad Casablanca are something of an institution in Morocco. The only club to be founded by native Moroccans during the French protectorate of 1912 to 1956, it owes its name to one of its founders, Mohamed Benjelloun, who suggested it at a meeting after watching a film of the same name starring the singer Oum Kalthoum. When Benjelloun uttered the word, the inhabitants of a neighbouring house let out some high-pitched cries, which he and his fellow founders interpreted as a good omen. The Moroccan flag provides the inspiration for the club’s red shirts, which symbolise its patriotic roots.
Head coach Lhoussaine Ammouta lifted CAF Champions League trophy thanks to a solid defence, clinical attack and all-round application. It was a stunning success, and one that owed much to a coach capable of getting the best out of his charges. Wydad’s 2016 Moroccan league title win was their first in 14 years. After conquering the domestic scene, they then won the CAF Champions League, earning the right to represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017. Their goal now is to impress on the global stage.

Key Players
Mohamed Ounajem, Achraf Bencharki, Abderrahim Khadrouf, Zouheir Laaroubi, Brahim Nakach, Salaheddine Saidi

Al-Jazira have qualified to the tournament as they were the winners of 2016-17 UAE Pro-League. Their participation in the FIFA Club WC is based on the National league champion fron the host country.
Al Jazira were founded in 1974 as a merger between two existing Abu Dhabi-based clubs, Al Khalidiyah and Al Bateen. The idea behind the club’s establishment was to give young people the best possible platform to play sport and hone their talents. A number of high-profile figures have held roles in the club’s hierarchy: Mohammed Khalifa Al-Kindi was their first President, a position he occupied for 12 years before being replaced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who served as the President of the Board of Directors, the Honorary President and the President of the Honorary Board, while Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is currently both the club President and the vice-president of the Honorary Board. The club’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium has hosted several major events, including the 2009 and 2010 FIFA Club World Cups.
After taking a while to make their mark, Al Jazira have enjoyed a rich run of success in recent times. Indeed, they have written their name in Emirati football history over the last decade, winning two league titles, three UAE President’s Cups, one UAE Federation Cup and one GCC Champions League, among other titles. It is on the strength of their recent second league conquest that they will represent the host nation at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017. “We’ve built a solid side. The players have given a lot this season. They’ve shown that they have totally bought into our project and they know that this is just the beginning of our reign over Emirati football,” said the club’s coach, Henk ten Cate, after his charges were crowned league champions. The Dutchman – who took the reins in early 2016 and boasts a wealth of experience, including notably at the helm of Ajax and as an assistant at Barcelona and Chelsea – knows that taking part in the Club World Cup could help Al Jazira kick on and progress to the next level.

Key Players
Ali Mabkhout, Mbark Boussoufa, Sardor Rashidov, Romarinho.

In the opening game Al-Jazira takes on Auckland City FC in Al-Ain on 6th December 2017.