On this week’s main report we take a look at the Club World Cup, currently being held in Japan. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
It’s December, which means it’s FIFA’s Club World Cup over here in Japan. This competition pits together the champions from the six football confederations – that’s from Europe, South America, Central and North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Since it started in 2000, only clubs from South America and Europe have won the trophy, with Europe leading South America 5 titles to 3. However, the country with the most wins is Brazil, with three all of South America’s wins, followed by Spain and Italy with two each, and England with one.
Brazil will be hoping to add to their haul, and flying the flag for South America is Corinthians from São Paulo. They won the trophy in 2000 and going into this tournament they stand a good chance of adding another Club World Cup to their trophy room. They come into the competition with a strong defence, they only conceded 4 goals in 14 matches in the Copa Libertadores.
Representing Europe will be Chelsea. They come to Japan on a bad run of league form and with a new manager, Benitez, who won the Club World Cup with Inter two years ago. They at least started scoring goals again when they hammered Norjland 6-1 in the group stages of the Champions League, but they are very low on confidence.
One team is already going home. Auckland were beaten by the Japanese side, Hiroshima, 1-0 earlier in the week. Japan is allowed one side as hosts, and they play a preliminary game against the Oceania champions to see who will go forwards to the quarter finals. In those games Hiroshima will play the African champions Al-Ahly from Egypt, and the Asian champions Hyundai will face the CONCACAF winners, Monterrey, from Mexico. Al-Ahly fans, of course, were involved in the terrible riot at Port Said when fans stormed the pitch and more than 70 people were killed. Since then the Egyptian League has been suspended. Monterrey were disappointing in last year’s competition, being knocked out in their first game and finishing fifth. This time, with more experience they may prove harder to beat.
The winners of these two games meet the European and South American favourites in the semi-finals. I expect to see Monterrey meet Chelsea and Hiroshima face Corinthians. Can either Monterrey or Hiroshima get through to the final? History says no, and it would be a huge surprise to see either in the final on the 16th of December in Yokohama.
(to) pit: to draw together; to put in opposition with each other; to put in a match
haul: (in football) trophies; championships; titles
flying the flag for: representing; play for
a bad run: bad form; a string of losses and draws; a succession of bad results
hammered: beat easily and scored a lot of goals against