Tomorrow, 8 December 2016, starts the 2016 World Cup for Clubs with the qualification game between the champions of the host country Japan and the winner of the Oceania Champions League: Kashima Antlers vs Auckland City. It will be the 13rd time the tournament is played under this name (it still had a different format in the 2000 edition though), but if we would count all World Cups on club level (known as Intercontinental Cup before) that were disputed in history, it would be edition number 56. For the rest of this blog we will consider the latter.
There will be seven participants; one from each football continent and a second from Asia as host’s Japan have one team in the play-off game. Here are the results per team over 2016:
Eight of the last nine editions have been won by a member of the UEFA, thus the winner of the UEFA Champions League, with the other title going to Corinthians (CONMEBOL) in 2012.
Because of this recent streak the UEFA members have overtaken the CONMEBOL in the race for most titles. CONMEBOL’s leading position in this ranking ended in 2010 when TP Mazembe surprised Internacional in the semifinal and Inter Milan lifted the cup.
In all but three cases the final has been an affair between a CONMEBOL and a UEFA team, with the exceptions being the all-Brazilian 2000 final, 2010 when Inter Milan played Congolese side TP Mazembe and 2013 when Bayern Munich beat Raja Casablanca.
Considering cups per country Brazil is all-time leader. Spain (with Real Madrid) could equal Argentina and Italy for the second place this year:
Real Madrid are heavy favorites for the tournament (1.14 at Unibet) and they also come into this tournament with the second-highest points per game rate over 2016 (see first table). Some interesting facts about their participation and hunt for glory:
- Real Madrid could become the most-time winner of the FIFA World Cup for Clubs. They previously won in 1960 (first edition), 1998, 2002 and 2014.
- Real Madrid will participate for the eighth time; equaling AC Milan for most participations.
- Cristiano Ronaldo could become the fifth player in history to score for multiple teams in the tournament. He previously scored for Manchester United in the 2008 semifinal. The others: Romario (PSV and Vasco da Gama), Ronaldinho (Atletico Mineiro and Barcelona), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United and Sydney FC) and Neri Cardozo (Monterrey and Boca Juniors)
- Real Madrid are currently on a 34-game streak without losses (25 wins, 9 draws), equalling their best ever streak from Beenhakker’s Real Madrid in 1988-89.
- UEFA teams, including Real Madrid in 2014, won both games at the Club World Cup in the last three editions. All six games without conceding goals.
- Real Madrid register 13 games for the Club World Cup: they won seven, drew three (one loss after penalties against Mexican side Necaxa) and lost three (Boca Juniors and Peñarol twice).
- Real Madrid have played nine games against Colombian teams, all friendlies: three wins, three draws and three losses.
- Real Madrid are the team with most goals in the competition: 25. Their all-time topscorers are Nicolas Anelka and Raúl (3). Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Puskás (2) are closest to equaling them, but the latter two will probably make no appearance at this edition.
- Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo could become the sixth and seventh player to lift the trophy three times (as player!). Iniesta, Piqué, Messi, Busquets and Dani Alves all lifted the trophy three times with Barcelona. Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo are already the first ones doing it with different teams.
- Zinedine Zidane has won the Club World Cup twice as a player: in 1996 with Juventus and in 2002 with Real Madrid. He could become the fifth person to win the cup as player and manager after Juan Mugica (as player in 1971 with Nacional from Uruguay and as coach from the same team in 1980), Giovanni Trapattoni (as player in 1969 with Milan, as manager in 1985 with Juventus), Luis Cubilla (as player in 1961 with Peñarol and 1971 with Nacional de Uruguay, and as manager with Olimpia in 1979) and Carlo Ancelotti (as player of AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 and as manager of that club in 2007 and then again of Real Madrid in 2014).
Atlético Nacional from Medellín, is having one of the best years in their history. They won the Copa Libertadores for the second time, made it to the final of the Sudamericana that was cancelled due to the Chapecoense tragedy, won the SuperLiga de Colombia, the Copa Colombia and are currently in the semifinal of the play-offs of the Colombian league. Doing the math they must have played a lot of games. Yes, more than any other team in 2016; 82 at the beginning of this Club World Cup. Some facts for them:
- Atletico Nacional participate for the second time: in 1989 they lost 0-1 against AC Milan.
- It will be the third time a Colombian team plays the World Cup; they never scored a goal (Atl. Nacional 0-1 Milan, Once Caldas 0-0 Porto (Porto won on penalties))
- Atletico Nacional have lost only one international match in 2016 (away at Rosario Central in the Copa Libertadores): 15 wins, 8 draws and that 1 loss
- Miguel Borja is the maximum goalscorer in South America this year. He has scored a total of 39 goals in 49 matches. He converted 11 of them in international cups (12 games).
América will make an appearance for the third time, after 2006 and 2015. The first time they became fourth and last year they ended fifth after a disappointing quarter final loss against Guangzhou Evergrande. They’ll play Jeonbuk Motors in the quarterfinal. The same match-up as the quarter final in 2006 which América won 1-0.
- No Mexican team have ever made it to the final of the competition. Their best result is third (two times: Necaxa in 2000 and Monterrey in 2012).
- With seven cups América became the most time winner of the CONCACAF Champions League (Champion’s Cup before) in 2016.
- América are currently 15 games without a loss: 7 wins and 8 draws. Seven of those games ended in 1-1. That is since La Volpe took over as manager.
- William and Oribe Peralta (one goal at the 2016 CWC) scored the last five goals for América.
Auckland City will participate for the sixth consecutive time and the eighth time in history. Their best result was third in 2014 when they beat Cruz Azul on penalties.
- With 2,43 points per game in 2016 they have the highest average of all 2016 participants.
- James Pritchett and Ivan Vicelich (both Auckland City) are the players with most Club World Cup games (11) in history. As Vicelich is in Auckland’s squad again, he could become sole leader in that ranking.
- Vicelich is the oldest player (40) in Japan for the tournament; 22 years older than his teammate Sean Cooper (18).
- Auckland City is the only team to have won multiple penalty shoot-outs in history of the Cup: both in 2014.
- Together with Real Madrid they are the team with most games at the Club World Cup (13)
- They register three wins, two draws and eight losses in the competition.
- They are only three goals away (20 now) from becoming the team with most goals conceded in CWC history.
The Korean team participates for the second time. In 2006 they lost 1-0 to the same opponent as the they play this year (América), before beating Auckland in the game for the fifth place (3-0).
- South Korean teams lost their last four games in the competition, all conceding at least three goals (0-3, 2-4, 1-3 and 2-3).
- The best ever result for a South Korean team is third (Pohang Steelers in 2009).
The 2016 CAF Champions League winners are the first ever participant from South Africa at the Club World Cup.
- African teams are the only ones that have broken the UEFA/CONMEBOL hegemony considering World Cup finals: TP Mazembe in 2010 and Raja Casablanca in 2013 reached the final.
- Mamelodi Sundowns won only one of their last eight games away from their own stadium: 2 draws and 5 losses.
- CAF teams have failed to win their last five games in the competition (2 draws and 3 losses).
The Japanese team make their debut at the Club World Cup. They won the J-league which deserved them a spot in the qualification phase of the tournament.
- With an average squad age of 26,1 years it is the youngest team of the tournament.
- The “host” team made it to the quarterfinal in five of the last six editions (four times beating Auckland City).
- Raja Casablanca is the only “host” team to have made the final. They lost that one against Bayern Munich in 2013.
- No Japanese team has ever made it to the final. Their best results is third (three times).
Nop, there are no Brazilians teams but it is worth highlighting that they have ruled the Club World Cup (if not all football) over the complete history:
- With 10 Club World Cup titles no other country has won more than the Brazilians have
- The last four non-UEFA winners were all Brazilians
- All except two teams, Atletico Nacional and Auckland City, have a Brazilian in their team this CWC
- Brazilians have scored 92 goals (26%) in the competition, more than any other country.
- In each of the last SIXTEEN years there was always a Brazilian lifting the cup:
- 2000: Dida, Índio, Adílson, Fábio Luciano, Kléber, Mercelinho, Vampeta, Ricardinho, Luizão, Edílson, Edu, Gilmar and Fernando Baiano (Corinthians)
- 2001: Paulo Sérgio and Giovane Elber (Bayern Munich)
- 2002: Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid)
- 2003: Iarley (Boca Juniors)
- 2004: Carlos Alberto, Diego, Derlei and Luis Fabiano (Porto)
- 2005: Rogério Ceni, Cicinho, Fabao, Edcarlos, Junior, Mineiro, Josué, Danio, Márcio Amaroso, Grafite and Aloísio (Sao Paolo)
- 2006: Clemer, Ceará, Fabiano Eller, Índio, Rubens Cardoso, Edinho, Alex, Wellington, Luiz Adriano, Adriano Gabiru, Pato and Iarley (Internacional)
- 2007: Dida, Kaká, Emerson and Cafú (Milan)
- 2008: Rafael and Anderson (Man United)
- 2009: Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
- 2010: Julio César, Maicon and Lúcio (Inter)
- 2011: Dani Alves (Barcelona)
- 2012: Cássio, Alessandro, Chicão, Paulo André, Fabio Santos, Paulinho, Ralf, Jorge Henrique, Wallace and Danilo (Corinthians)
- 2013: Dante and Rafinha (Bayern Munich)
- 2014: Marcelo (Real Madrid)
- 2015: Dani Alves y Neymar (Barcelona)