After European sides claimed each of the last five FIFA Club World Cup titles, Corinthians are determined to finally bring the trophy back to South America when they take on Chelsea FC in Sunday's hotly-anticipated final at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan.
Corinthians – Chelsea FC, International Stadium Yokohama*
Sunday 16 December 2012, 19.30 (local time)*
Ahead of the tournament, both teams were heavily fancied to reach this stage and duly fulfilled expectations. Nonetheless, Corinthians were made to work hard for a 1-0 victory over Al-Ahly SC in the last four, with Paolo Guerrero's header proving decisive for the Copa Libertadores holders.
Chelsea enjoyed a much smoother passage through to the final. The UEFA Champions League winners beat CF Monterrey of Mexico 3-1, exciting fans with some great forward play, particularly from the attacking quartet of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Fernando Torres. The latter has struck five times in his last three games, which arguably makes him the Blues' chief goal threat heading into the decider.
Still, Corinthians will take confidence aplenty from the evidence of tournaments past. On each of the two occasions a Brazilian team has faced an English side at the FIFA Club World Cup, the CONMEBOL representative has emerged victorious.
3 – Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez is set to take part in his third FIFA Club World Cup final. In 2005 his Liverpool FC side lost 1-0 to Sao Paulo FC in the decider, but in 2010 he led F.C. Internazionale Milano to glory with a 3-0 success against Tout Puissant Mazembe Englebert.
"If we were playing Monterrey in the final, the pressure would be on us because of the high expectations of our fans and our great results this year. As it is, I think we share the same pressure as Chelsea and feel we both have a chance. Of course I would have preferred to play Monterrey. Chelsea looked better yesterday, both in terms of technique and physicality," Corinthians coach Tite
"The players know what to do. They have confidence and are enjoying their football, but we still need to improve. For example, I'm not happy with the goal we conceded against Monterrey - such things could make a difference in the final. The team should stay focused and do well for the full 90 minutes. Corinthians will be tough. Brazilian teams are always good, but we’re ready and we can do it," Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez