The FIFA Club World Cup is a competition that has existed for a number of years. It is a surprise that it’s suddenly getting so much attention. It has been dominated by the European teams that participated for a while now. However, a wind of change might just be about to hit this trend.
Real Madrid, last year’s winner of the Champions League, is back in the competition for the first time in three years. Flamengo representing South America are also in the mix, while Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal is also threatening to make a run. Stay put as we bring you the details of this competition and why it has suddenly caught the eye of the football world.
Teams Who Qualified For The 2023 FIFA Club World Cup
By standard, seven teams participate in the FIFA Club World Cup. The Host country presents its nation’s champion, while the six other teams are the club champions from each of the six continents. Here is the full list of teams that qualified for this competition.
- Africa; Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) Champions of the CAF competition, Al Ahly (Egypt) Champions League runner-up in CAF (Assigned berth for host nation)
- Asia; Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), the AFC Champions League Winner
- Europe; Real Madrid (Spain) Winners of the UEFA Champions League
- North America Seattle Sounders (USA) Winners of the CONCACAF Champions League
- Oceania; Auckland City (New Zealand) Winners of the OFC Champions League
- South America; Flamengo (Brazil) CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores winners
Competition Details And Venue
This year’s FIFA Club World Cup has been entrusted to Morocco again as the host country. This is the second time they are hosting the competition since 2014. The competition is set to run from February 1-11. Seven knockout games are played within this period to crown another World Champion.
Why Is This Tournament Getting Hype This Year?
One constant thing is change. FIFA is looking to shake things up pertaining to the format with which the competition is being played. They are looking to make things interesting by expanding the competition.
- The idea which FIFA made known to the World in December 2022 was to expand the competition to a 32-team Club World Cup, which would begin in 2025 and be held every four years in the summer, like the World Cup for national teams.
- They are about to increase the relevance of this competition by doing this, which is why it is getting the hype of late.
The event’s first two rounds featured games between clubs from Africa, Oceania, Asia, and North America. At the semifinal stage, the European (Real Madrid) and South American champions (Flamengo) join the battle.
First Round: Al Ahly Vs Auckland City
The first round kicked off with Al Ahly of Egypt, who finished second in the CAF Champions League, easily defeating Oceania champion Auckland City of New Zealand by a score of three goals to nil to move on to the second round of the competition. This match was simply a walk in the park for the Egyptian side.
Second Round: Seattle Sounders Vs Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca Vs Al Hilal
The second round saw first-round winners Al Ahly go up against North America Champions Seattle Sounders in a heated matchup. About three minutes to stoppage time, Al Ahly scored the lone goal of the game, which proved as the game-winner and secured their place in the semi-finals.
The second round also had Moroccan Champions Wydad Casablanca play Saudi Arabia team Al Hilal. These teams competed fiercely and played out a 1-1 draw by the end of both regular and added time. It had to come to a penalty shootout which Al Hilal won 5-3.
Semi Final: Al Ahly Vs Real Madrid, Flamengo Vs Al Hilal
Egyptian side Al Ahly were on a roll, but the result of their advancing to the semi-finals meant that they faced the giants of this competition, Real Madrid. Real Madrid, in their classic display, put four past Al Ahly while conceding once. Goals from Vinicius Junior, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, and Sergio Arribas were enough to get the job done, although Madrid was without star players like Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois.
Brazilian side Flamengo also went up against Saudi Arabia Al Hilal in the semi-finals. Flamengo went into this game as the favourite, but the game took a completely different turn. Al Hilal went on to win by a final score of three goals and two and will now play the four-time FIFA Club World Cup winner Real Madrid in the final. This will be the Saudi Arabian team’s first-ever Club World Cup final game.
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Previews And Predictions
Third Place: Al Ahly Vs Flamengo
Al Ahly might have been in the finals if they had not faced Real Madrid in the semi-finals. However, they are fighting for third place against Flamengo and seeing how Flamengo played in the semi-finals, it will take a lot of work to back the Brazilian side. The prediction for this game is both teams to score. Al Ahly has been playing with their heart and looks more determined than Flamengo; however, picking out the winner in this game will be pretty edgy. The odds for both teams to score, according to Stake.com, are 1.6 (decimal) and -167 (American).
Final: Real Madrid Vs Al Hilal
The Spanish giants, who have a record four Club World Cup victories, have a ton of experience in the competition and always seem to find a way to win. Al Hilal has done well as the dark horse of this tournament, but Real Madrid just simply has the edge with the experience and quality the team possess. The best value bet for this game is for both teams to score, we saw Real Madrid concede in their semifinal game, and we can’t ignore that Al Hilal offers a threat on offence. The odds for both teams to score, according to Stake.com, are 1.98 (decimal) and -102 (American).
This year’s FIFA Club World Cup has delivered nothing short of exciting and nerve-wracking moments. The unexpected upsets have drawn more attention this time, and Real Madrid winning a fifth title in this competition caps it all.
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