The path to winning the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup has been set following the official draw, which took place at the home of FIFA in Zurich on Tuesday.
Taking place this year from December 12-22, the Club World Cup will bring together the six continental club champions and the UAE’s Arabian Gulf League winners Al Ain to compete for one of club football’s top international prizes.
Following the draw, overseen by head of FIFA tournaments Jaime Yarza with the assistance of Argentina legend Esteban Cambiasso, the route to becoming this year’s FIFA Club World Cup champions was confirmed for the seven teams taking part.
The Boss will play for the chance to enter the competition proper when they face New Zealand’s Team Wellington FC – both of whom will make their FIFA Club World Cup debuts – in the tournament’s opening qualifying match at their own Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on December 12, with the second-round matches taking place on December 15.
European juggernauts Real Madrid – who lifted the trophy in Abu Dhabi last year – will enter the competition at the semi-final stage and play the winners of the match between the champions of Asia (set to be confirmed in November) and Mexico’s CD Guadalajara at Zayed Sports City Stadium on December 19.
The CONMEBOL representatives (winners of the 2018 Copa Libertadores in November) will play the winners of the match between the African club champions and the victors of the Al Ain/Team Wellington clash.
The Club World Cup final will take place at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 22.
The full match schedule will be completed in November after the final three continental champions from the AFC, CAF and CONMEBOL have been confirmed.
Cambiasso, a FIFA Club World Cup winner in the UAE with Inter Milan in 2010, said: “Playing in the FIFA Club World Cup is a fantastic experience: to see fans from different continents coming together to support their teams after a successful season creates a thrilling atmosphere.”
Fatma Samoura, FIFA secretary general added: “There is something extraordinarily gratifying about gathering the reigning champions from each confederation – and their tales of hard work to achieve continental success.
“FIFA is committed to fostering club football and its overwhelming global presence, and there is no better platform for that than the FIFA Club World Cup.”
HE major general Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, chairman of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC), added: “We are excited to be hosting the world’s premier club tournament once again. The FIFA Club World Cup is the pinnacle of global professional club football, with the best teams from six continents and the region coming to Al Ain and Abu Dhabi to compete for the title of FIFA Club World Cup champions.
“We are privileged to be hosting some of the best football talent from across the globe. Fans will no doubt be excited to see their heroes from Real Madrid, Guadalajara, Al Ain and Team Wellington. Now we wait, with much anticipation, to find out which other clubs will be joining us in December.”
Tickets for the tournament are now available. For further information about how to apply for tickets and the tournament itself, visit https://www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/organisation/ticketing/.
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