Club World Cup: Real Madrid for fifth crown, Wydad for first Africa
The Club World Cup, an annual tournament organized by FIFA and involving the winners from the six continental confederations and the champions from the host country, returns to the Kingdom for the third time after the 2013 and 2014 editions, which took place in Marrakech and Agadir.
Thus, the clubs Al Ahly (Egypt), Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Auckland City (New Zealand), Flamengo (Brazil), Real Madrid (Spain), Seattle Sounders (USA) and Wydad (Morocco) are the seven protagonists of the mass this high world football, is scheduled from February 1 to 11 at the Grand Stade de Tanger and the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in Rabat.
Winners of this trophy four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), in addition to three Intercontinental Cups (1960, 1998 and 2002), Real Madrid are undoubtedly huge favorites for the final crown given the quality of their players and Merengue’s great experience in this kind of competition. .
Madridistas, winners of the 2022 Champions League by beating England from Liverpool, will enter the competition at the semifinal stage, where they will meet on February 8 in Rabat, with the Seattle Sounders from the United States, Al Ahly from Egypt or the City of Auckland from New Zealand.
For its part, the Brazilian Flamengo line-up, who represents the South American continent in their capacity as winners of the 2022 Copa Libertadores, cherishes the dream of making his name among the winners of this trophy. The last nine editions of this cup have been won by European teams, including Chelsea, in Abu Dhabi last year.
Brazil confirmed their qualification for this tournament by winning, for the third time in their history, the Copa Libertadores at the expense of Athletico Paranaense (1-0) in the final Brazil 100%.
Like the people of Madrid, they will enter the semi-finals of the competition, where they will face the winner of the duel between Wydad Casablanca and Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), on February 7 in Tangier.
The representative of Moroccan football in this competition, Wydad de Casablanca (WAC), will try to follow in the footsteps of his neighbor Raja, who had a heroic career in 2013 by qualifying for the final against Bayern Munich (losing to Raja 0-2).
WAC, African champions after their triumphs in the final against Al Ahly (2-0) and the Moroccan champions, then under current Atlas Lions coach Walid Reragui, will be keen to play damage and offer Morocco and Africa their first titles in the competition.
Another African continent representative in this fixture, Al Ahly, owes his presence at this tournament to the organization of this Moroccan edition of the World Cup.
Club World Cup regulations state that two teams from the same country will not be allowed to participate in the tournament. Wydad Athletic Club will participate as representatives from Morocco and Al Ahly take part as representatives from the African continent. This will be Al Ahly’s eighth participation in the Club World Cup. He won bronze three times in 2006, 2021 and 2022.
Al Ahly will kick off the tournament on February 1 in Tangier against Auckland City.
As for clubs Al Hilal, Auckland City and Seattle Sounders, they will play the tournament with mixed fortunes.
If the Saudis are going to play their 3rd Club World Cup, after the 2019 and 2021 editions, where they finished 4th, the Seattle Sounders are the first MLS team to play in the FIFA Club World Cup.
They won the Concacaf Champions League by beating Pumas Mexico 3-0 to claim a 5-2 aggregate win in the second leg final.
As for Auckland City FC, winners of the OFC Champions League (Oceania) over AS Venus, this will be their 12th participation in the Club World Cup. This time he will try to repeat his 2014 achievement when he won bronze.
Obviously, the 2022 edition of the Club World Cup seems to have launched in the Kingdom already. Both host stadiums have undergone repairs and renovations, while in terms of people’s enthusiasm, the whole nation will be behind Merah Putih to climb to the top podium of the competition.