The Club World Cup has been run in its current format since 2005. That’s a grand total of 16 titles, 13 of which have gone to the UEFA representative. Teams from South America won it the first two years, 2005 and 2006, beating Liverpool and Barcelona, respectively. Since then, only once have the European sides lost.
You guessed it: Chelsea in 2012.
That 1-0 defeat was to Corinthians, who, along with most of the rest of the Brazilian league, are Chelsea fans right now. Palmeiras were here last year, too, and finished fourth. They’ve got their eyes on the trophy, looking to replicate what their greatest rivals did to us in 2012.
But so do we.
For the cup!
Date / Time: Saturday, February 12, 2022, 16.30 GMT; 11:30am EST; 10pm IST
Venue: Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Referee: Christopher Beath (on pitch); Massimiliano Irrati (VAR)
On TV: Channel 4 (UK); Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: All 4 (UK); Fox Sports Go (USA) — not sure about India or Nigeria listings or streaming options, but FIFA’s YouTube channel might be streaming it, depending on various rights restrictions. In the USA, fuboTV has a 7-day free trial, which you can use to watch FS2. Here’s our affiliate link for that.
Chelsea team news: There are no new injury concerns from midweek, and we’ve been boosted by the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, fresh out of his isolation and ready to fist bump his way to victory. We also have Mason Mount presumably back to full-ish fitness, which might see him start, even.
The big question is of course who will start in goal. Édouard Mendy’s back, Africa Cup of Nations trophy under his belt and all, but Kepa Arrizabalaga has been spectacular in his absence this past month, and basically all season in limited action, so surely deserves this chance to bring home the Cup.
The 2012 defeat was more amusing than anything else at the time, but in retrospect, was a missed opportunity that was taken far too much for granted. Time to make up for it!
Palmeiras team news: The Big Green should need no introduction even to us Euro-centric types; they are the most successful club in Brazilian football and are the back-to-back defending Champions of South America (i.e. Copa Libertadores winners).
It’s offseason for the Brazilian Serie A at the moment (the state championships are going on). Palmeiras finished only third last year, behind Flamengo in second and well behind (surprise) runaway leaders Atlético Mineiro (featuring one Diego Costa, among others).
They may not have too many household names, but head coach Abel Ferreira, who made his name in the Portuguese league with Braga, has them playing quite cohesive football. They’re not the stereotypical non-European side one might expect if they come from the sort of old school thinking that can permeate football media in general.
Midfielder Raphael Veiga is perhaps the biggest goal threat, and he opened the scoring in their 2-0 semifinal win over Al Ahly. Veteran forward Dudu added the second. His glory days may be behind him, but this big stage may yet inspire a revival. The likes of Rony and Breno can always chip in with a goal as well. Experienced defenders Luan and Paraguay international Gustavo Gómez anchor the backline while the best Brazilian goalkeeper not named Alisson or Ederson, a.k.a. Weverton keeps goal.
Palmeiras have every intention to score a famous upset. It’s up to us to stop them.
Previously: Let’s relive the 2012 final, to know the feelings we need to avoid. César Azpilicueta is the only player to still be with the team (while Petr Cech’s also here albeit in a technical non-playing role). There’s also a really good “Coaching Masterclass” video with Tite breaking down how he set up Corinthians to beat us.