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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Background On FIFA Club World Cup In Japan

As you may or may not know, Japan is the host for the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup.

You can read all about that HERE - but just be aware the qualifying teams for this tourney are still being sorted out, with a couple more teams to be announced in early November, and Japan's club entry not going to be known until December, when it crowns it's J-League champion. 

What you may not know is that the FIFA Club World Cup got its start in 2000 and was hosted by Brazil.

Japan then took over the hosting duties for four years in 2004 - 2008.

The United Arab Emirates then played host for two years in 2009 and 2010 until Japan was once named the host in 2011, and has already been named the host of the 2012 edition.

Unlike most international soccer matches, this one some political intrigue. 

Why? Well, according to FIFA... there's some history behind all of this.

First... the FIFA Club World Cup is a soccer tournament between the six champions of the seven continents. That means: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America - but not Antarctica as there are no cities or permanent populations.

The very first FIFA Club World Cup was in 2000 in Brazil, and was officially known as the FIFA Club World Championship. The main problem with it was that it ran at the same time as UEFA's Intercontinental Cup tournament run since 1960 (featuring winners of the UEFA Champions League) and the Copa Libertadores tournament of South America.

The FIFA Club World Cup was a power struggle between FIFA and UEFA to control international soccer. Soccer hooliganism at an executive level.

The 2000 tourney had eight teams in it, and was won by Sport Club Corinthians Paulista over Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama (both Brazilian teams) that went to a penalty shoot-out (I hate deciding anything via penalty kicks!) after a 0-0 draw. Third place was also decided versus penalty shoot-out (fortunately after a 1-1 draw - someone please score!), as Mexico's Club Necaxa defeated Spain's Real Madrid Club de Fútbol.

In 2001 - the tournament lost a co-sponsor, ISL, and was cancelled. Too bad, as it was to have had 12 teams in Spain.

Taking a break in 2002, the tournament was going to be held in 2003... but, it too was red carded.

FIFA, perhaps a bit red-faced over all of this, looked to merge with UEFA, agreeing to do so in 2004... but agreed to wait until the UEFA Intercontinental Cup was completed in December... which mean there would not be a second FIFA Club World Cup until 2005.

Perhaps because FIFA's new sponsor was Toyota, the second ever Club World Cup was held in Japan - and it was officially known as the Club World Championship Toyota Cup - held December 11-18, 2005. It was actually shorter than it was in 2000, as a way of better aiding clubs involved in their regular country matches. This tournament also had fewer teams: the six actual continental champions, with CONMEBOL and UEFA champions getting a bye to the semi-finals.

It contained just the six reigning continental champions, with the CONMEBOL (Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol - aka South America) and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations - aka Europe) champions receiving byes to the semi-finals of the tournament.

In 2005 (thru 2008), the matches were played at: Tokyo's National Stadium, Toyota Stadium in Toyota-shi in Aichi-ken and International Stadium in Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken, which also played host to the finals. The cup was won by Brazilian squad São Paulo Futebol Clube 1-0 over Liverpool Football Club (UK), while Costa Rico's Deportivo Saprissa Sociedad Anónima Deportiva defeated Ittihad FC of Jeddah – نادي الاتحاد of Saudi Arabia 3-2 to claim third place.

In 2006 in Japan, the now named FIFA Club World Cup was won by Brazil's Sport Club Internacional 1-0 over  Futbol Club Barcelona of Spain with Egypt's Al-Ahly Sports Club defeating Mexico's Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V by a score of 2-1. It was also a 6-team tournament.

In 2007 in Japan, the club championship had seven teams (now featuring six continental champs plus the host nation) the was won by A.C. Milan of Italy 4-2 over Club Atlético Boca Juniors of Argentina, and third place was decided on a penalty shoot-out, after a 2-2 draw, won by host Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds over Étoile Sportive du Sahel from Tunisia.

In 2008 in Japan, the seven team  FIFA Club World Cup was won by the UK's Manchester United Football Club who defeated Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito of Equador, 1-0. Third place was won by Japan's Gamaba Osaka 1-0 over Pachuca Club de Fútbol of Mexico.

The 2009 seven-team tournament was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and featured seven teams including one from the host nation. Games were played at Al Jazira Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium and Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Futbol Club Barcelona of Spain won the cup in extra time 2-1 over Argentina's Club Estudiantes de La Plata. Third place was won by Korea's Football Club Pohang Steelers포항 스틸러스 축구단 by a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 score over Club de Fútbol Atlante from Mexico.

In 2010, the seven-team tourney was again held in the United Arab Emirates and was won by Italy's Football Club Internazionale Milano SpA 3-0 over Africa's team from the Congo, Tout Puissant Mazembe. The third place victors were Sport Club Internacional of Brazil who defeated Korea's Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma Football Club성남일화 천마축구단 by a score of 4-2.

Who will win the 2011 tournament once again held in Japan - though only at Toyota Stadium and International Stadium Yokohama? Only time will tell? Who will participate in this tournament? Again, only time will tell. However, should you wish to purchase tickets for this year's event, click HERE.

To see a list of which teams are currently slotted into this tournament, check out this BLOG.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

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