Club World Cup Prediction (2014)
For those unaware, there is a thing called the Club World Cup. It would be like if the San Antonia Spurs played the champions of all the other continents in a short tournament (I realize I’m changing the format of Champions League and neglecting the rest of CONCACAF, but work with me). There has been nothing consistent, but the NBA champions have played the European champions a handful of times. Barcelona actually won the last time it happened, but it was in early October, but the NBA season.
Back in January 2013, when all we knew was that Manchester United would battle Real Madrid in the round of 16, I tipped Real Madrid to be the 2013 Club World Cup Champion. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, we had an all-German European final. It turns out, I was a year early in my prediction. Real Madrid won the 2014 UEFA Champions League, putting them in the drivers seat for the 2014 version of the Club World Cup.
The participants aren’t entirely set yet, but I still pretty safe in suggesting Real Madrid will win the competition. The possible South American participants are:
No team outside of Europe or Brazil has ever won the tournament. Other teams from Africa and South America have made it to the final, but never won. There was this thing called the Intercontinental Cup, which was won by Uruguayan, Paraguayan, and Argentine clubs. In fact, Argentine clubs are the most successful clubs in that competition, winning 9 times, to Italy’s 7. Argentine domestic football has fallen quit a bit since then, but that’s a topic for another article.
The possible teams from Africa are:
I think it’s safe to say the African clubs have no real hope of winning the competition, but TP Mazembe did make it to the final in 2010, when they were rocked by Inter 3-0. Also, hosts Raja Casablanca made it to the final last year. Morocco is once again hosting the competition, so you might expect an African club to do well. Of course, Morocco is only 8.9 miles from Spain, so you would expect Madrid to bring good support (even if Madrid is in the north of the country).
The possible teams out of Asia are:
- Western Sydney Wanderers
- Guangzhou Evergrande
- FC Seoul
- Pohang Steelers
Evergrande are reigning Asian champions and finished fourth in the 2013 Club World Cup, losing the third place game to Atletico Mineiro. Evergrande have one the Chinese league three consecutive years. The Chinese league currently halfway through their campaign and Evergrande sit atop once again. If this were a year when the tournament was in Japan, I might pick them to potentially spring an upset. Of course, they still have to win the AFC Champions League. Teams from U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, and Qatar might have some shot at springing an upset due to somewhat similar climate and culture. Al-Sadd has pedigree in the Club World Cup, coming in third in 2011, which is the best finish for an Asian club.
The CONCACAF representative is Cruz Azul, but a CONCACAF team has never reached the final, finishing third twice. Auckland City will represent OFC and Moghreb Tétouan is the representative from the host.