ZURICH: This has been a ‘Champions League week’ for Chelsea but Europe’s elite club event is not the only international competition on manager Roberto Di Matteo’s radar.
The Blues will also be heading off to Japan next month to contest the FIFA Club World Cup for which tickets go on sale on November 11 via FIFA.com.
Yokohama and Toyota City host the event between December 6 and 16.
Other contenders – along with the European champions – are Monterrey of Mexico (CONCACAF Champions League winners), Corinthians of Brazil (CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores winners), Auckland City of New Zealand (OFC Champions League winners) as well as the yet-to-be decided winners of the Asian Champions League as well as the African Champions League winners plus the Japanese champions.
In Asia, this week’s semi-final first-leg matches resulted in Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) and Ulsan Hyundai (Korea Republic) taking a lead in the race, while Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia) and Bunyodkor (Uzbekistan) will be aiming to overturn the deficit in next week’s second-leg matches and reach next month’s final.
In Africa, Espérance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia) and Al Ahly (Egypt) have reached the final of the CAF Champions League, to be played over two legs in November. The J.League, with five matches left, is now led by Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Vegalta Sendai, both on 54 points. Urawa Reds on 48 points are also firmly in the race.
This year’s FIFA Club World Cup will be an historic event. After IFAB – football’s law-making body – gave the go-ahead in July 2012 for goal-line technology to be used, both the two licensed systems – Hawkeye and GoalRef – will go “live” in Japan.
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