It’s final day here in Japan, where English Premier League giants Chelsea tangle with Corinthians of Brazil for the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup crown.
Click on the links to the right to read FIFA.com’s exclusive pre-final stories and interviews.
Chelsea, coached by Rafa Benitez – previously a FIFA Club World Cup winner with Inter Milan – are led on the pitch by Spanish duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, goalkeeping stalwart Petr Cech and a host of sturdy role-players and difference-makers.
“It’s a dream of mine to play in a [Club] World Cup and I’d give anything to win it,” Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz, who moved up into midfield in the swash-buckling 3-1 semi-final win over Monterrey, told FIFA.com. Torres is in total agreement: “We are here in Japan to win the trophy. I’m sure we’ll see a very even game, with both sides in with an equal chance,” he said about the final that defender Branislav Ivanovic calls “The key game for this generation” of Chelsea Football Club.
Corinthians, last year’s Copa Libertadores champions, reached Sunday’s grand finale by besting Egypt’s Al-Ahly 1-0 in their semi-final. It was a game that lacked fireworks, but highlighted some of the Sao Paulo side’s strongest attributes: defensive assurance, dogged determination in midfield and stifling, tactical patience.
“I never think I’ve done enough. The day I start thinking everything is great is the day I should stop doing what I love most, which is playing football,” Ralf, the team’s soft-spoken warrior and icon told FIFA.com, summing up a never-say-die spirit in the O Timão camp.
The Japanese port city of Yokohama will see a new world champion crowned on Sunday, and only one thing remains to be known. Will Corinthians grind their way to the title or will Chelsea, suddenly so attack-minded, win the day with their new look? Stay tuned to FIFA.com for the answer, and all the post-game reactions.