- The Club World Cup dominated by Europe and South America
- Several clubs, however, created surprises in the history of the tournament
- Back on the most beautiful courses of the “little ones” on the world stage
Europe and South America reign supreme on the winners of the Club World Cup. In 16 editions of the tournament, it is always the UEFA champion or that of Conmebol who has won, and the representatives of the two continents have opposed each other in the final 12 times.
However, the beautiful epics of Petits Poucets are not lacking in the history of the tournament. On five occasions, teams with more modest status that we did not expect at this level made their way to the final or on the podium. FIFA.com remember.
African champion for the second time in a row, TP Mazembe comes to the United Arab Emirates with the ambition to make people forget their pitiful sixth place the previous year. Deprived of their best player Trésor Mputu, suspended, the Ravens remove the Mexicans of Pachuca in the second round (1-0) before disposing with style of the Brazilians of the Internacional (2-0) and to afford a dream final against Inter Milan of Samuel Eto’o.
If the step is too high against the Italian giant (3-0), the TP becomes the first non-European or South American club to reach the final of the event. The icing on the cake: Dioko Kaluyituka leaves the Emirates with the adidas Silver Ball in his suitcase.
Morocco 2013: The exploits of Raja
Three years after the feat of TP Mazembe, another African club is making its way to the final. And the feat is even greater than that of the Congolese since the Raja Club Athletic owes its presence in the tournament to its title of champion of Morocco. The Green Eagles must therefore play the first round where they overcome Auckland City thanks to the last minute goal of Abdelilah Hafidi (2-1).
The second round is even more trying with a victory snatched in overtime against the Mexicans of CF Monterrey (2-1). But the best part is yet to come with a resounding 3-1 inflicted on Ronaldinho’s Atlético Mineiro in the semifinals, in a jubilant Marrakech Stadium.
Like TP Mazembe, the Moroccans had to bow in the final against the power of the European champion, Bayern Munich of Franck Ribéry (0-2). The latter is elected adidas Golden Ball of the tournament, while striker Raja Mouhcine Iajour, scorer of two goals in the competition, wins the Bronze Ball.
Morocco 2014: Auckland on the podium
If Auckland City dominates Oceania, the New Zealand club is often condemned to make up the figure against the behemoths of other continents. Often, but not always. After recording a historic success against TP Mazembe (3-2) in the fifth-place match at the 2009 Club World Cup, the Navy Blues marked the 2014 edition by grabbing the podium at the end of an epic course which saw them triumph over Moghreb Tétouan (0-0; 3-4 tab) and ES Sétif (1-0) before pushing the Argentines of CA San Lorenzo in their entrenchments in the semi-finals (2-1 ap) and to win the match for third place against the Mexicans of Cruz Azul FC (1-1, 2-4 tab).
A remarkable achievement for this club with semi-professional status which has bet on an ambitious game plan on the collective level, abandoning its traditional vertical game. “I’m very proud of what we achieved. We haven’t lost a game in regulation time and we deserve this third place because we were fantastic from start to finish. From a moral point of view, this are players who have won this World Cup, “said Ramon Tribulietx, Catalan coach of the team. Kiwi.
Japan 2016: Kashima, host at the height
After a sluggish first success against Auckland (2-1) in the first round, no one imagined Kashima reaching the final of the 2016 Club World Cup. Last minute guests as representatives of the host country, the Japanese have chained the performances of high flight, with a game all in technique and liveliness which got the better of the South Africans of Mamelodi Sundowns (2-0) and Atlético Nacional (3-0).
The Japanese even offered themselves the luxury of leading 2-1 in the final against the great Real Madrid thanks to a double from Gaku Shibasaki, Bronze Ball of the tournament, before suffering the thunderbolt of Cristiano Ronaldo who equalized at the time of game before hitting twice in overtime (4-2 ap).
Two years later, it was again Real that shattered Petit Poucet’s dreams in the final with a scathing 4-1 inflicted on Al-Aïn, champion of the United Arab Emirates and representative of the host country, author of a heroic course, starting with a fantastic comeback after being led 0-3 against Team Wellington in the first round (3-3, 4-3 tab), followed by a demonstration against Esperance de Tunis (0-3) and a epic semi-final against River Plate (2-2, 4-5 tab).