On this week’s show Damian and Damon look at the World Cup Qualifying draw made in South Africa last week. Damon also has a new English for Football phrase.
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The Club World Cup kicks off in Japan this week, and it is the third year running that FIFA’s club championship has been held in Japan. It was known as the Club World Championship and was born out of the Intercontinental Cup, also known as the Toyota Cup, which was also originally called the Club World Championship. Confused yet?
Let’s start at the start with the the Club World Championship. This was formalised in 1960 when Real Madrid played Uruguayan side Peñarol. Gradually interest in Europe faded and the money dried up. It was only when Toyota stepped in that the competition was revived and re-launched as the Intercontinental Cup. This competition was played between 1980 and 2004, and as it was sponsored by Toyota it was always played in Japan. The winners of the Copa Libertadores and the European Cup met every year to decide the supposed best in the world. But even from the start European teams especially, didn’t regard it too seriously. Honours are split pretty evenly between the two continents with South America just coming out on top with thirteen wins versus Europe’s twelve champions. Coincidentally, the two most successful clubs, AC Milan and Boca Juniors meet in the revamped Club World Championship.
This Club World Championship has only been held three times. The first, in Brazil, saw Real Madrid and Manchester United take part in the competition, but it was the Brazilian sides Corinthians and Vasco da Gama who met in the final. Corinthians finally overcoming Vasco 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out. The South American jinx over Europe continued in 2005 and 2006 with Sao Paulo beating Liverpool and Internacional coming out winners against Barcelona.
The last two cups took place in Yokohama, Japan and six teams took part each time. The South American team and the European team only joining in after the first round matches had decided their opponents from Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Northern and Central American leagues. This year, seven teams will take part: Urawa Reds and Stepahan from Asia, Pachuca from CONCACAF, huge underdogs Waitakere United from Oceania, Etoile Sahel representing Africa, Boca from South America and AC Milan from Europe. It’s difficult to see past Urawa, Pachuca, Boca and AC Milan, and unlikely that the final will not be between Boca and the giants from Europe, Milan. One huge problem for the competition is that it comes in the middle of the European footballing calendar – it is unlikely that AC Milan will put too much into the game – while the other favourites have all come to the end of their seasons and can to some extent use the cup as a way to finish on a high note.