2012 FIFA Club World Cup
The FIFA: Club World Cup is an annual competition contested by the champions of each of the six continental confederations and the host country that crowns the theoretical best club in the world.
The 2012 competition, the ninth edition, will be staged in Toyota and Yokohama, Japan, from Dec. 6 to 16.
Though the cup was first awarded in 2000 to Brazil’s Corinthians, there was a four-year break in the action from 2001-2004 that ended around the same time that a merger agreement was struck with the rival Intercontinental Cup or World Club Championship as it was known in South America. That cup, which originated in 1960, was contested by clubs from Europe and South America but started to lose its edge when European teams began to withdraw. The competition, originally named the FIFA Club World Championship, took on its current and more prestigious sounding name in 2006.
FC Barcelona became the first repeat winner of the cup in 2011 when they shut down the Neymar-led Santos FC 4-0 in the most lopsided final to date. Corinthians, São Paulo and Internacional of Brazil, Inter Milan and AC Milan of Italy and Manchester United of England have each taken turns calling themselves the world’s greatest. The final has matched clubs from South America and Europe in all but one of the finals, the 2010 cup final when Inter Milan defeated Congolese football club TP Mazembe.
Cup Winners By Year
2005 Sao Paulo
2008 Manchester United
2009 FC Barcelona
2010 Inter Milan
2011 FC Barcelona
Al-Ahly SC – Cairo, Egypt
Known as the “Club of the Century” in Egyptian football, Al Ahly is known most recently for tragedy as they were involved in one of the deadliest football riots in the history of the beautiful game. Seventy-four people, many of them Al-Ahly supporters, were killed in Port Said after an away defeat to rivals Al-Masry in February 2012. Al-Ahly defeated Tunisian title defender Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the African Championship League final playing in front of its fans for the first time since the deadly tragedy that suspended the remainder of the Egyptian Premier League season. This will be their fourth appearance in the Club World Cup with their highest finish of third place coming in 2006.
Auckland City FC – Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland City is an amateur team that plays in New Zealand’s ASB Premiership, the highest level of domestic football in the country. They are making their fourth appearance in the Club World Cup, representing an Oceania region that doesn’t include Australia. Despite their amateur status, the team has actually had some success in the tournament, winning twice in the 2009 competition to finish fifth. Their overall record in the competition is 2-4.
Chelsea FC – London, England
Chelsea pulled off the surprise of international football in 2012 by upsetting Barcelona in the semifinals of what was supposed to be destined for a SuperClasico final and then defeated Bayern Munich ( which upset the other Spanish superpower, Real Madrid, in their semifinal) on PKs in a final played in Munich. The win gave the city of London its first Champions League trophy and Chelsea an unlikely double (they also won the FA Cup), even while finishing sixth in the Premier League table and getting creamed by Europa League cup winners Atlético Madrid. This will be Chelsea’s first appearance in the Club World Cup and the third for England, which has been represented by cup winners Manchester United in 2008 and Liverpool, the runner-up in 2005.
Corinthians – São Paulo, Brazil
Traditional Brazilian power Corinthians will return to the competition for the first time since they won it in its first year in 2000. Corinthians qualified by winning the Copa Libertadores for the first time in club history (they qualified as a host country club in 2000), outlasting six-time winners Boca Juniors of Argentina with a 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires and a 2-0 victory at home.
Monterrey – Monterrey, Mexico
The Rayados (striped ones) are in the competition for the second year in a row, having defeated fellow Mexican club Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League to return to a competition they finished fifth in a year ago. MLS fans might remember Monterrey as the team that kept Real Salt Lake from becoming the first MLS Club to win the CONCACAF Champions League in 2011.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima – Hiroshima, Japan
Sanfrecce Hiroshima earned the host entry slot into the tournament and a Dec. 6 play-off with Auckland City by wrapping up the J. League title with one game to play on Saturday. The league title was the club’s first and completed a dramatic rise for the club from Japan’s second division in 2008 to first division league winners following back-to-back seventh place finishes.
Ulsan Hyundai FC – Ulsan, South Korea
The Tigers are a South Korean football club owned by Korean car manufacturers Hyundai. Ulsan Hyundai earned a trip to their first Club World Cup by going unbeaten in 12 matches in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League en route to a finals win over Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli SC. This is the club’s first appearance and the fourth appearance for a South Korean Club in the competition. Pohang Steelers finished third in 2009, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma fourth in 2010 and Jeonbuk Hyunda Motors fifth in 2006.
Schedule & Results
Thursday, Dec. 6
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 Auckland City FC
- Toshihiro Aoyama (66′)
Sunday, Dec. 9
Ulsan Hyundai 1-3 Monterrey
- Jesus Corona (9′)
- Cesar Delgado (77′ 84′)
- Lee Keunho (88′)
Al-Ahly SC 2-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
- Hisato Sato (32′)
- Elsaye Hamdi (15′)
- Mohamed Aboutrika (57′)
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Corinthians 1-0 Al-Ahly SC
- Paolo Guerrero (30′)
5th Place Game
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2 Ulsan Hyundai
- Hiroki Mizumoto (17′ OG)
- Satoru Yamagishi (35′)
- Hisato Sato (56′ 72′)
- Lee Yong (90′+5)
Thursday, Dec. 13
Chelsea 3-1 Monterrey
- Juan Mata (17′)
- Fernando Torres (46′)
- Darvin Chavez (48′ OG)
- Aldo De Nigris (90′ +1)
Sunday, Dec. 16
3rd Place Game
Al Ahly vs. Monterrey (2:30 – Fox Soccer Channel)
Sunday, Dec. 16
Corinthians vs. Chelsea (5:30 – Fox Soccer Channel)