Fernando Torres looked sadder than usual as he trudged through the corridors of the International Stadium in Yokohama. David Luiz’s eyes were puffy and red, the pain of losing the FIFA Club World Cup final to Corinthians, the team he supported as a boy in Brazil, just too much to bear. Branislav Ivanovic wore a mixed look of anger and confusion, and no journalist had enough courage to stop the Serbian defender for comment.
“We had chances tonight,” Victor Moses told FIFA.com, the muffled songs of tens of thousands of jubilant Corinthians fans ringing out in the distance. “But it’s just one of those nights when the other team’s keeper had a blinder.”
Moses, on from the start to give Rafael Benitez’s side a little more muscle and pace up front, had one of Chelsea’s best chances of the night. In the dying moments of the first half, he broke through the Brazilian defence and curled a shot toward the top corner. Much to his surprise, Corinthians’ goalkeeper Cassio sprawled like a cat to dive it away. “I was ready to celebrate,” the Nigerian international said. “He [Cassio] kept them in it tonight, but that’s football and we have to get on with it.”
Chelsea’s next game is on Wednesday, a League Cup clash with Leeds, before they resume Premier League service on 23 December against Aston Villa. Moses, for one, has no fear of a Club World Cup hangover. “We’re professional footballers, after all,” he said, victorious Corinthians players filing past behind him. “We’ll get ourselves back to where we need to be mentally. We had a bad day today; things didn’t go our way. We’ll put it behind us.
Ramires looks ahead
Brazilian workhorse Ramires, who ran tirelessly in the Chelsea midfield, was surprised by the result. “It’s complicated,” he said. “We’d been playing well and we were growing as a team. We didn’t expect to lose, but that’s football. If we were meant to win all of our games, we would be champions of everything. But we lost today.
“I think this defeat is a lesson for us and should help,” he added, trying to find the silver lining. “It’s a perfect opportunity for us to turn it up and show we’re strong. The Premier League isn’t set. We also have the Europa League. We can’t complain about what happened. If we do that, we’ll keep losing until the end of the season.”
David Luiz, who was voted second-best player of the competition here in Japan, was bewildered, lacking his countryman’s positive outlook. “The game was decided by details,” he said, before adding when asked about his tearful outburst after the final whistle: “I am a player who has ambition, pride and personality. If you ask me if I like to lose, I will answer that I don’t. I have heart and emotion. I was overcome.”
While Corinthians' party is likely to stretch long into the night, Chelsea, who were inches away from being crowned world champions for the first time, now have to move on to attain domestic and continental targets during their 2012/13 season.