Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Guangzhou Evergrande will face each other in a competitive game for the first time in the match for third place at the FIFA Club World Cup, which coincidentally also witnesses the maiden meeting between teams from Japan and China at the tournament.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima-Guangzhou Evergrande, International Stadium Yokohama, Sunday 20 December, 16:00 (local time)
Three years ago, Sanfrecce Hiroshima finished fifth at the FIFA Club World Cup, so the J.League champions are already assured of their best result in the tournament. In this match for third place, they can equal the achievements of Urawa Red Diamonds (2007) and Gamba Osaka (2008) who achieved a place on the podium. The J. League champions will be hoping that Douglas rediscovers his scoring form as they battle for bronze. The Brazilian notched 21 goals this season, but has drawn a blank at Japan 2015 so far.
Meanwhile, Guangzhou Evergrande, the only Chinese team to have played at the FIFA Club World Cup, are aiming to go one better than they did two years ago when they finished fourth under the stewardship of Marcello Lippi. They will have to achieve this without the services of Zou Zheng who suffered a broken leg in the 3-0 defeat to Barcelona.
2 – Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is the second manager in history to coach three different teams at the FIFA Club World Cup/Intercontinental Cup (Gremio, Palmeiras, Guangzhou Evergrande) after Rafael Benítez (Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea)
"This tournament has been a tremendous learning experience for us on the pitch and off it. The atmosphere that the River Plate fans created should encourage Japan to change our football culture by learning from other countries which have more history in football."
Hajime Moriyasu, Sanfrecce Hiroshima coach.
"We have a clear objective – and that’s to finish third in the tournament. We’ve has a great year and grown a lot over the past 12 months and we’ve been playing well, but our defeat in the semi-final showed that we’re still some distance behind the biggest teams in the world.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guangzhou Evergrande coach.