In the quarter-finals at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009, TP Mazembe meet Pohang Steelers, and Auckland City face Atlante. Each of the four represents a different confederation, with the two winners on Friday and Saturday going through to the semi-finals.
The FIFA Club World Cup is still a relatively young tournament, but has already featured a number of inter-confederation contests to match those lined up for Abu Dhabi. With these in mind, FIFA.com takes a more detailed look at previous meetings between clubs from the OFC and CONCACAF, and between the AFC and CAF.
Mexicans down Melbourne
At the inaugural FIFA Club World Cup in Brazil in 2000, South Melbourne, who were then representing the OFC, met Necaxa in Group B. After losing their opening game 2-0 to Vasco da Gama, it was already a case of win or bust for the Australians, whereas the Mexicans were in good shape following a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in their first match.
The first Oceania versus CONCACAF duel in tournament history took place on 8 January at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Necaxa quickly lived up to their billing as favourites, racing into a two-goal lead through Cristian Montecinos and Augustin Delgado. John Anastasiadis reduced the arrears before half-time, but Salvador Cabrera wrapped it up for the CONCACAF club on 79 minutes. The Mexicans ended the tournament in a creditable third place ahead of Real Madrid.
Goals galore at Estadio do Morumbi
In the same year, Al Nassr and Raja Casablanca contested the second-highest-scoring match in FIFA Club World Cup history. The Saudis were looking comfortable at 3-1 up, but the Africans rallied and levelled the scores with two goals in the space of seven minutes.
However, the match swung back Al Nassr’s way a quarter of an hour from time, when Morocco international Youssef Safri received a straight red card. The Saudis went for the jugular and were rewarded with five minutes to go, when Moussa Saib netted to ensure the AFC team got the better of the CAF representatives. It ultimately mattered little to either side, as both were eliminated at the group stage.
Tight affairs in 2005
At the second FIFA Club World Cup, the quarter-finals paired Al Ittihad (AFC) with Al Ahly (CAF), and Sydney FC (OFC) with Deportivo Saprissa (CONCACAF). The Saudis started as underdogs against the powerful Egyptian outfit, but Mohammed Noor scored the only goal of the game to defy the form book and send the Asian side into the last four.
In the other match, Costa Rican side Saprissa, coached by two-time FIFA World Cup™ participant Hernan Medford, faced up to Australian champions Sydney FC, themselves coached by FIFA World Cup-winning German Pierre Littbarski. In terms of the confederations, the second duel between the OFC and CONCACAF ended the same way as the first, Cristian Bolanos scoring the only goal of the game for the central American side. On 18 December, Deportivo beat Al Ittihad to secure third spot at the FIFA Club World Cup.
The most recent showdown between teams from Asia and Africa came in the 2007 edition of the tournament, when Etoile Sahel met Urawa Red Diamonds in the match for third place. Once again, the men representing the AFC took the honours.
The Tunisian side took the lead through Sabeur Frej, but Uruwa striker Washington turned the match on its head with a brace, only for Amine Chermiti to equalise with 15 minutes remaining. The Japanese held their nerve in the penalty shootout and claimed the bronze medal.
So, as it stands, both TP Mazembe and Auckland City could run up firsts at this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. On past form, it would count as a surprise if the club from Congo DR were to beat Pohang Steelers on Friday, and arguably even more of an upset if the Kiwis overcome Mexico's Atlante a day later. But as everyone knows, anything can happen in football.