Despite being debutants at the FIFA Club World Cup, the proud record of Boca Juniors and AC Milan at the tournament's forerunner, the Intercontinental (Toyota) Cup, means they have history on their side as they go in search in victory in club football's premier competition.
First staged in 1960, the tournament was contested by the respective European and South American champions for the next 43 years. Now, with just hours to go until Japan 2007 kicks off, FIFA.com whets your appetite with some of the most impressive stats the tournament has to offer...
Boca Juniors and AC Milan have won three Intercontinental titles apiece, making them jointly the most successful sides alongside Real Madrid and Uruguay's big two: Penarol and Nacional. However, the Xeneizes and Rossoneri now have a chance to add a fourth title to their already glittering list of honours.
Argentina, land of champions
Boca Juniors will be hoping to improve on Albiceleste football's impressive record of nine wins to date, while AC Milan will aim to do Italian football proud as they go in search of their country's eighth triumph. The two powerhouses are also first and second in terms of overall appearance, with the South Americans having taken part 18 times to the Europeans' 12.
Under the shadow of Bianchi and Sacchi
Two surnames of Italian origin head the list of most successful coaches at the event. The Argentinian Carlos Bianchi, victorious with Velez Sarsfield (1994) and Boca Juniors (2000 and 2003), leads the way with three titles. Arrigo Sacchi is close behind with the two he picked up with AC Milan (1989, 1990), a feat also matched by the Brazilians 'Lula' (1962, 1963) and Tele Santana (1992, 1993), and another Argentinian, Helenio Herrera (1964, 1965).
AC Milan records
The Italian giants also hold the record for most appearances (seven), most goals scored (17) and boast the five players with the most appearances. Leading the way on five is none other than Alessandro Costacurta, who will be back in Japan this year as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant.
Brazilleaves its mark
Not wholly unexpectedly , O Rei Pele created his own bit of history at the competition: not only is he its top scorer with eight goals, but he remains the only player ever to have netted a hat ntrick (in Santos' win over Benfica in 1962). For their part, Sao Paulo are the only club to have won both the old and new version of the competition: the Intercontinental (Toyota) Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Tale of the tape for Japan 2007
Finally, what better way to finish than by casting our eye over the contenders at Japan 2007. AC Milan have in their ranks both the tournament's tallest player: Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac (2.02m), and the event's oldest ever participant in Paolo Maldini (39 years and five months).
New Zealand outfit Waitakere United provide the joint heaviest player this year in Mikael Munday, he and Kalac both tipping the scales at 95kg. The pair weigh a whopping 38kg more than the lightest, Sepahan's Hossein Papi. In terms of height, Pachuca's Damian Alvarez will be the joint-shortest player taking part this year (1.65m) alongside Sepahan's Abolhassam Jafari, who will also be the youngest at 17 years and 5 months.