With a week to go before the Emirates hosts the club competition, John McAuley lists some facts you need to know about it
One week to go for Club World Cup: Lowdown on Fifa tournament being hosted by UAE
What is it?
The Fifa Club World Cup is an annual event organised by football’s world governing body that pits against one another the champions of the game’s six confederations, together with the host nation. Real Madrid are the Club World Cup holders having won the trophy in Abu Dhabi last December.
When is it?
The 2018 Club World Cup will take place in the UAE from December 12-22, marking the fourth time the Emirates has hosted the event. After debuting in 2009, the tournament was successfully staged in the country in 2010 and again last year. Barcelona won in 2009, Inter Milan the following year and Madrid last time out.
Where do the matches take place?
As was the case last year, the matches will be played at two venues: Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain. There will be eight matches in all, with the final once more held in the capital. Last year’s showpiece, between Madrid and Brazil’s Gremio, was a sellout.
Madrid will headline the tournament for the second successive year after the Spanish giants sealed a third consecutive Uefa Champions League in June with victory in the final against Liverpool. Al Ain, the 2017/18 Arabian Gulf League champions, represent the UAE and make their Club World Cup debut when they kick off the tournament against New Zealand’s Team Wellington, who qualify as Oceania champions. Meanwhile, Asian champions Kashima Antlers, of Japan, and African champions Esperance de Tunis, of Tunisia, are competing, alongside Mexico’s CD Guadalajara, the reigning Concacaf champions. The final remaining slot will be decided on Sunday, when Argentina’s Boca Juniors and River Plate contest the twice-postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final. The winner of that, and Madrid, enter the Club World Cup at the semi-final stage.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets can be purchased at http://fifacwc.ae, and begin at Dh25.