With the FIFA Club World Cup well under way and the Middle East buzzing with excitement we take a look back at an array of interesting facts and details about this historic tournament to help get you right in the mood for the mouthwatering ties in the next round including reigning champions Real Madrid who face home favourites Al Jazira.
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Abu Dhabi, Zayed Sports City Stadium : Capacity: 43,000
Al Ain, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium : Capacity: 22,717
10 facts about the FIFA Club World Cup
- The tournament has so far only been won by teams from either Europe or Brazil.
- Both Barcelona and Inter Milan won their very first FIFA Club World Cup trophies in the UAE in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
- Only three teams from continents beside Europe and South America have managed to make it to the final (TP Mazembe, Raja Casablanca, Kashima Antlers). Raja Casablanca is also the only Arab team to reach the final.
- Japan and UAE top the list of recurring host nations. By the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup, in all its 14 editions, the competition would’ve been hosted eight times by Japan and three by UAE to be made into a fourth in 2018.
- Neymar and Messi met for the first time at the FIFA Club World Cup. It was during the 2011 final between Barcelona and Santos.
- The first time a penalty was decided in a FIFA competition by the use of video playback technology was in the FIFA Club World Cup 2016 semi-final.
- 7.Only two clubs have won every FIFA Club World Cup final they’ve featured in (and no, Barcelona isn’t one of them). Real Madrid and Brazilian Corinthians are the only teams with a 100% success rate in the final.
- Luis Suarez became the first player to score a hat-trick for a European team in the finals in 2015.
- The most number of goals ever scored by a team in a single match is five. The record is shared by two teams: Monterrey, fifth place match against Al Ahly 2013 5-1, Manchester United, semi-final against Gawwmba Osaka 5-3 (also CWC matches with highest number of goals in the tournament’s history).
- Egypt’s Al Ahly were the first Arab team to reach the semi-finals and achieve third place in 2006. The only other team to have achieved the same feat since is Al Sadd.
Emirati players who have scored goals in the FIFA Club World Cup
1. Ismail Matar (1 goal, Al Wahda vs Pachuca, match for fifth, Final 2-2 Pachuca win penalties)
Ismail Matar is a veteran of UAE football. His winning goal for UAE in the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations, in which he was also named Player of the Tournament, aided in his rise to icon status amongst UAE fans. In 2008, he was nominated for the Asian Footballer of the Year Award and came in second. He is now the captain of the UAE National Team with 114 caps, that’s at least 20 caps more than any other player on the squad. He won the UAE league 3 times with Al Wahda: in the 2000-2001 season, 2004-2005 season and finally in the 2009-2010 season which helped the team qualify as hosts for the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup.
2. Abdulrahim Jumaa (1 goal, Al Wahda vs Hekari United, Play Off, Final 3-0 Al Wahda win)
Jumaa has made a total of 187 full game appearances in various UAE competitions including 140 in the Arabian Gulf League. His appearance in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup was also his very first appearance in an international FIFA Club Competition, and he managed to score a goal In Al Wahda’s first game of the tournament, helping secure a 3-0 win for his team to advance past play-offs.
3. Mahmoud Khamis (1 goal, Al Wahda vs Pachuca, match for 5th, Final 2-2 Pachuca win penalties)
Like Jumaa, the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup was the first international club competition for Mahmoud Khamis. His second goal in Al Wahda’s match against Pachuca could’ve been the winner for his team, but the Mexican side managed to score 2 goals in the last 10 minutes of the game to equalize and then later win through the penalty shootouts. Khamis continued to play for Al Wahda until 2014, when he moved to Al Nasr club. He has made a total of 151 appearances in the Arabian Gulf League.
Iconic moment in FIFA Club World Cup history
1. Corinthians tie 2-2 with Real Madrid
David vs Goliath stories are always loved by fans, and Corinthians were the source of the very first such story in the FCWC’s history with their 2-2 tie against Real Madrid in the debut of the competition in the year 2000. Back then, the competition was in its old format, titled FIFA Club World Championship, which featured a group stage before the knock out rounds. Corinthians’ tie against a star studded Real Madrid side that featured iconic names such as Raul, Nicolas Anelka, and Roberto Carlos helped them in their journey to becoming their group’s No.1 and thus advancing to the tournament final and eventually being crowned champions.
2. Corinthians shock win against Chelsea
Because they love to surprise fans, Corinthians once again created one of the most memorable moments of the FIFA Club World Cup, possibly because of how unexpected it was. It had been six years since any South American team had managed to snatch the tournament from European champions, with the last South American win having been Brazilian Internacional’s 2006 triumph. 30,000 fans had travelled all the way from Brazil to Yokohama to watch their team play in the Club World Cup final, and to their delight, their team managed to snatch a dramatic second half win to be crowned as champions. Here’s the great header from Paulo Guerrero that made it all happen.
3. TP Mazembe advance to the Final in 2010
Like Jumaa, the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup was the first international club competition for Mahmoud Khamis. His second goal in Al Wahda’s match against Pachuca could’ve been the winner for his team, but the Mexican side managed to score two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game to equalize and then later win through the penalty shootouts. Khamis continued to play for Al Wahda until 2014, when he moved to Al Nasr club. He has made a total of 151 appearances in the Arabian Gulf League.
4. Internacional upset Barcelona
In another David vs Goliath story, back in 2006, Brazilian club Internacional managed to snatch the trophy from European in a shock 1-0 win that was secured in the last 10 minutes of the game. The tournament also brought attention to a particular talented youngster on Internacional’s side, the now famous Alexandre Pato. Back then, Pato was only 17 years old but grabbed the attention of football fans and media worldwide through his exceptional performance in the tournament and eventually landed him a deal with Italian giants AC Milan.
5. Barcelona’s 2009 last minute equaliser
Being the most crowned team in FIFA Club World Cup history doesn’t mean it’s always an easy win for Barcelona. In 2009, it was almost lights out for Barcelona as they were losing 1-0 to Estudiantes until the very last minute. Literally only in minute 89 of a very tough game did the European champions manage to score a breath-taking equaliser that led the match into extra time. And finally, 10 minutes into extra time, Messi scored a second goal that Estudiantes could not manage to recover from, earning Barcelona that title of Champions of the FIFA Club World Cup 2009.
6. São Paulo become the second Brazilians champions of the Club World Cup
São Paulo were the second team after Corinthians to majorly upset a European team with their 1-0 win against Liverpool in the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup Final. Liverpool managed to create 21 perfect chances during the game but were denied every single time by São Paulo stubborn keeper, Rogerio Ceni. In this tournament, Ceni also became the first goalkeeper to ever score a goal in the tournament through his penalty against Al Ittihad.
7. Messi and Neymar meet for the first time
Before being part of Barcelona’s feared M-S-N triangle, Neymar and Messi ruled separately in the world of club football as South American and European football heroes respectively. The FIFA Club World Cup 2011 final was the first time the two players ever met. Barcelona eventually beat Neymar’s Santos side 4-0 but a young Neymar (only 18 then) managed to win the tournament’s Bronze Ball for his performance. Neymar and Messi would go on to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup 2015 and win the tournament as teammates in an unstoppable Barcelona side.