The International Stadium in Yokohama will host Sunday's final at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008, South American club champions Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito taking on European counterparts Manchester United with global supremacy at stake.
Liga de Quito-Manchester United, Yokohama, Sunday, 21 December 2008, 19.30 (local time)
After becoming the first team from Ecuador to win the Copa Libertadores de America, Liga de Quito are looking to crown a momentous year with the FIFA World Club title. The semi-finals saw the Ecuadorian outfit cruise past Pachuca 2-0 and prove that they have a solid back line to go with their flamboyant attack. For coach Edgardo Bauza, set to leave the club after two years at the helm, a win would be the perfect parting gift.
However, Manchester United are very much the favourites. Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and their host of other stars were at the top of their game in the 5-3 semi-final win over local lads Gamba Osaka and are itching to add a third major trophy to their cabinet in 2008 after securing the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. Indeed, the FIFA Club World Cup is one of the few pieces of silverware that manager Sir Alex Ferguson has yet to win in his glittering career.
Liverpool were the last English team to make it through to the final of the showpiece event, but the Reds went down 1-0 to Sao Paulo back in 2005. Manchester United do have a better omen on their side though: in 1999 they beat Palmeiras here in Japan 1-0 to win the Toyota Intercontinental Cup.
8 - Manchester United's semi-final clash with Gamba Osaka saw the most ever goals in a FIFA Club World Cup match, including its previous incarnation as the Toyota Intercontinental Cup. It was also the first time since Pele's Santos beat Benfica 5-2 in 1962 that a team has managed five goals in a single game.
Liga de Quito forward Agustin Delgado will turn 34 on 23 December, while his team-mate Edder Vaca will be 23 two days later. It will be birthdays and Christmases all rolled into one for the pair should they manage to defeat the Red Devils on Sunday.
"This final will be the game of our lives. My players will fight for every ball and give everything for the team. We may be the underdogs going into this match, but we've been consistently fighting our way to the top of the ladder and we're ready to take the final step. We'll leave the pitch with our heads held high, whatever happens," Edgardo Bauza, Liga de Quito coach.
"My assistant Mick Phelan and I saw a video of their semi-final against Pachuca and also had them watched by a scout. Quito are a typically South American side - solid at the back and dangerous in front of goal. It will certainly be anything but an easy match, but it is the final of the Club World Cup so you can't expect an easy ride," Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager.