- Club World Cup has been dominated by European and South American sides
- Nonetheless, a number of unfancied sides have brought about main upsets over the years
- We look again at a few of the best exploits of those ‘lesser lights’
Teams representing Europe and South America have loved unbroken dominance at the FIFA Club World Cup. In the 16 editions thus far, the winners have at all times been both the UEFA or CONMEBOL champions, with the representatives of the two continents going through one another in 12 of these finals.
That stated, the event has had its share of upsets and David versus Goliath moments. On 5 events, much less fancied groups that weren’t anticipated to characteristic prominently made it to the ultimate or podium. FIFA.com brings you their tales.
United Arab Emirates 2010: Mazembe make their mark
As African champions for the second 12 months operating, TP Mazembe headed to the United Arab Emirates decided to make amends for his or her lamentable sixth-place end the earlier 12 months. Despite having their finest participant, Treasure Mputu, suspended, Les Corbeaux prevailed in opposition to Mexico’s Pachuca in the second spherical (1-0), earlier than seeing off Brazilian giants Internacional in some fashion (2-0) to arrange a dream ultimate in opposition to an Inter Milan facet that includes Samuel Eto’o.
And whereas I Nerazzurri proved too robust in the decider (3-0), Mazembe had the distinction of turning into the first non-European or South American membership to achieve the ultimate. To add additional gloss to their achievement, Dioko Kaluyituka took the adidas Silver Ball again to Congo DR.
Morocco 2013: Raja stun Ronaldinho & Co
Three years after TP Mazembe’s exploits, one other African membership made all of it the approach to the ultimate. Raja Club Athletic’s feat was arguably much more spectacular, having solely certified for the event by advantage of being Moroccan league champions. As such, the Casablanca outfit needed to face Auckland City in the first spherical, solely prevailing due to a final-minute objective from Abdelilah Hafidi (2-1).
The second spherical was more durable nonetheless, with the Green Eagles needing additional time to see off Mexico’s Monterrey (2-1). However, the finest was but to come back in the type of a 3-1 semi-ultimate defeat of an Atletico Mineiro facet containing Ronaldinho in entrance of jubilant followers at the Stade de Marrakech.
Just like TP Mazembe, the Moroccan giantkillers fell at the ultimate hurdle, of their case taking place 2-0 to European champions Bayern Munich, with Franck Ribery at his finest. And whereas the Frenchman was the deserved recipient of the adidas Golden Ball, Raja had the comfort of seeing their striker Mouhcine Iajour, scorer of two targets, choose up the Bronze Ball.
Morocco 2014: Auckland’s ethical victory
While Auckland City dominated the roost for a few years in Oceania, the New Zealanders have been usually overpowered by larger golf equipment on the world stage. Often, however not at all times.
After a historic win (3-2) in opposition to TP Mazembe in the match for fifth place in 2009, the Navy Blues went one higher in 2014 by gracing the podium. Their epic run in Morocco noticed them first conquer Moghreb Tetouan (0-0; 4-3 PSO) after which ES Setif (1-0). They then pushed Argentinian heavyweights San Lorenzo all the method in the semi-ultimate (2-1 a.e.t.), earlier than profitable the match for third place in opposition to Mexico’s Cruz Azul (1-1, 4-2 PSO).
The achievement was all the extra outstanding given the membership’s semi-skilled standing and an bold technique that favoured a passing sport over their regular direct fashion. “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved. We didn’t lose a single game in regulation time, and we deserved third place because we were fantastic from start to finish. These players were the moral victors of this World Cup,” stated Ramon Tribulietx, Auckland’s Catalan coach.
Japan 2016: Colombians crushed by Kashima
After a laboured 2-1 win over Auckland in the opening spherical, only a few anticipated Kashima Antlers to achieve the ultimate of the 2016 Club World Cup. Having solely secured their place by profitable the J.League days earlier than the event, the Japanese membership, taking part in a excessive-tempo, technical sport, adopted up with spectacular wins over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa (2-0) and Colombia’s Atletico Nacional (3-0).
Kashima even went 2-1 forward in the ultimate in opposition to Real Madrid due to a double by adidas Bronze Ball winner Gaku Shibasaki, earlier than struggling at the palms of Cristiano Ronaldo, who equalized on the hour then sealed victory with two extra strikes in additional time (4-2 a.e.t).
United Arab Emirates 2018: Al-Ain rock River
Two years later, it was Real who as soon as once more dashed the desires of an enormous underdog in the ultimate, this time seeing off Al Ain 4-1. The UAE league champions, who have been flying the flag for the host nation, started their heroic odyssey by coming from three targets down in opposition to Team Wellington in the first spherical (3-3, 4-3 PSO.)
The Emirati membership then kicked on with an emphatic victory over Esperance Tunis (3-0), earlier than eliminating mighty River Plate in an epic semi-ultimate (2-2, 5-4 PSO).