Chelsea learn Club World Cup fate
Chelsea will play either the winners of the Asian Champions League or Mexican side Monterrey in the semi-finals of December’s Club World Cup in Japan, after the draw for the tournament was made by FIFA on Monday.
The identity of the team representing Asia in the annual intercontinental competition will not be known until the final of the Asian Champions League on November 10.
The other quarter-final will be contested by the champions of Africa and the winners of a play-off between Oceania champions Auckland City of New Zealand and the winners of Japan’s national football championship.
The Japanese top flight concludes on December 1, while four teams are in contention to win the African Champions League, with Sunshine Stars (Nigeria), Al Ahly (Egypt), TP Mazembe (DR Congo) and Esperance (Tunisia) all through to the semi-finals.
The victors in the second quarter-final will tackle South American champions Corinthians in the other last-four tie.
Chelsea qualified for the tournament by beating Bayern Munich on penalties in May’s UEFA Champions League final and Roberto di Matteo’s side will be seeking to succeed Barcelona as World Club champions.
Japan has hosted five of the last seven tournaments, but the next two editions of the competition are scheduled to take place in Morocco.
“Japan was terribly affected on March 11 last year (by a tsunami and a nuclear disaster) and we’d already decided to return to Japan,” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
“We’ve also organised the women’s Under-20 World Cup there (in August and September). This will be the last time and I’m sure it’ll be a testament to the Japanese federation’s organisational qualities.”
The major news at the ninth edition of the tournament will be the use of goal-line technology, after lawmakers the International FA Board approved its introduction in July.
Two companies have been authorised to provide the requisite technology: Hawk-Eye, which uses cameras to track the movement of the ball; and GoalRef, which features the installation of a magnetic field in the goalmouth and a microchip in the ball.
All eight previous competitions have been won by clubs from either Europe (5) or South America (3), with only one team from another continent — TP Mazembe, in 2010 — having managed to reach the final.