FIFA’s Club World Cup 2012 – Schedule, Format and History

The 2012 FIFA’s Club World Cup will start next December 6th and have its final match in December 16th.

Goal-line technology will be used for the first time in this competition after its approval by the International Football Association Board back in July this year.

The FIFA’s Club World Cup , that replaced the former Intercontinental Cup in 2005 (there was an experimental edition in 2000 that ran together with that year Intercontinental Cup), gathers 6 continental champions of 2012 plus a representative from the host nation (the local league winner).

Its format consists of a play-off match between the worst  ranked continental champion and the host team. The winning team follows to a quarter-final against one of the 3 other worst continental champions (Africa, Asia and North-Center America – CONCACAF), while the other 2 left play the other quarter-final.

Quarter-final winners will face each the best 2 ranked continental champions (Europe and South America) that are directly seeded in the semi-finals and cannot play against each other (with the exception of the final, if that is the case).

The competition that will be held at Japan this year starts with a play-off match for the quarter-finals between Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Host team, holder of the Japanese League) and Auckland City FC (New Zealand) that are title holders of the OFC O-League (Oceania).

The winner of this play-off will meet Al Ahly SC (African Champions) in quarter-final 1 (December 9th). Both teams will fight for a place in semi-final 1 (December 12th) and will have to face Brasilian team ‘Corinthians’, winners of South America ‘Copa Libertadores’.

Quarter final 2 (December 9th) was already drawn and will join Asian Champions (Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea) and CONCACAF holders (CF Monterrey from Mexico). The winner will play against European Champions League holders Chelsea FC that recently sacked their coach Di Matteo and replaced him by Rafa Benitez (Former Liverpool and Inter Milan coach).

Check the official schedule, as well as matches calendar, below:

http://www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/matches/calendar.html

The first 3 editions of FIFA’s Club World Cup (2000, 2005 and 2006) were won by Brazilian teams, while all the other editions since then were taken by European Clubs (FC Barcelona the only one with 2 titles).

If one considers these results altogether with the others from the former Intercontinental Cup (that had its first edition in 1960 and was not played in 1975 and 1978), we come across the following statistics:

– Club with more wins: Milan (4);

– Countries with more cups (9) – Argentina, Brasil and Italy;

– Europe (26) and South America (25) teams took all the titles;

So if tradition is to be kept this year’s edition may either tie both continents if Corinthians grabs the cup (that would be their 2nd) or Europe may enlarge its distance if first ever participants ‘Chelsea’ manages to win.

A Portuguese team – FC Porto – formerly coached by José Mourinho won twice this competition. Curiously, José Mourinho was twice winner of the Champions League but never played this competition and Rafa Benitez (that replaced Mourinho in Inter Milan in 2010) that won a Champions League (2004-2005 with Liverpool, but without winning the English title) might end being twice champion in the FIFA’s Club World Cup if Chelsea manages to win (he won in 2010 with Inter Milan).

FC Barcelona is the current title holder.

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