On this week’s main listening report, we feature the upcoming 2010 Club World Cup. We talk a little about its history and then introduce the teams taking part. Who do you think will win the title of the Club World Champion? Do you care? Read and leave a comment with your predictions and reactions.
It will soon be time for the 2010 Club World Cup, the competition that pits together the champions from the six football confederations: Europe’s UEFA, South America’s CONMEBOL, Central and North America’s CONCACAF, Asia’s AFC, Africa represented by CAF and Oceania – although the latter has to take part in a play-off with the host country’s champions.
Since 2009 the competition has been held in the United Arab Emirates at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The contest has known many formats, many names and several host countries in its history. Before 2000 it was known as the Intercontinental Cup and played between the Copa Libertadores Cup and European Cup winners over two legs: home and away; in 2000 it became the FIFA Club World Championship and was held in Brazil. 2004, and it was back to the Intercontinental Cup but played in Japan. 2005 saw a new name, the Club World Championship, before 2006 saw it settle on the name and format we have now – the Club World Cup.
2010 FIFA Club World Cup
So, who will be competing for the honour of being crowned the world’s best side? Well, Internazionale will be flying to Abu Dhabi to represent Europe. The Champions League winners are also the Italian Champions but under a different manager this season. Rafa Benítez replaces Jose Mourinho and it has been a shaky start for the Spaniard and his team. They have won the Intercontinental Cup twice, in 1964 and 1965, and certainly have the quality to do so again this year. The champions from Europe and South America also automatically start in the semi-finals, so they have a big advantage.
From South America and Brazil will be Internacional, from Porto Alegre. They won the competition in Yokohama in Japan in 2006, beating Barcelona 1-0 in the final. This year it has been mid-table mediocrity in the league for the Copa Libertadores winners, so they will be looking to win this crown. It is also felt by most pundits that the Cup means more to South American teams than their European counterparts.
Flying the flag from Asia will be Seongnam, the most successful club side in Korea. They qualify for the Club World Cup as Asian Champions League winners: they beat Zob Ahan from Iran 3-1 in that final. They will face the winners of a play-off between Oceania champions, Hekari United from Papua New Guinea, and UAE Champions, Al-Wahda. Seongnam should progress to the semis where they will face Inter.
In the other quarter-final, Pachuca, from Mexico and the CONCACAF Champions League Winners, and TP Mezembe, a Congolese club that has made it back to back appearances in the Club World Cup, are the two other teams that will be playing in the United Arab Emirates. Mezembe fell at the first hurdle in 2009. Can they do better this time? I don’t think so. Pachuca, on the other hand, are quite capable of getting through to the semi finals as they proved in 2008 when they beat Iranian opposition 4-2 after extra time. The winner of this match will play Internacional from Brazil.
So, the play off between Hekari United and Al-Wahda kicks off next week on the 8th of December and the next round of games take place on the 10th and 11th. The final is scheduled for the 18th and expect Inter to beat Inter in the final! No team outside of Europe or South America has made it to the final yet and it won’t be changing this year either.
- to pit together/against: to put together in a sporting competition, to put in a tournament group
- the latter: the last mentioned in a previous list
- a leg: (in sport) a match, a game – usually there are two legs played at each team’s home ground
- to settle: to decide, to finalise, to make a final decision
- shaky: poor, weak, not strong
- mid-table mediocrity: not challenging to win the league, nor threatened by relegation, an average performance
- pundit: commentator, expert, journalist, someone with an opinion
- fly the flag for: represent, play for
- back and back: two in a row, one after the other, in succession
- the first hurdle: the first problem, the first round, the first match