FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012™
December 06 - December 16

FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012™

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Corinthians halt European domination

  • Corinthians bring world title back to South America for the first time since 2006

  • Paolo Guerrero’s second-half winner downs Chelsea in final

  • Goalkeeper Cassio awarded adidas Golden Ball

Back in 2008 the mighty Corinthians found themselves in the ignominious position of having to play second division football. Four years on, they have completed their return from the wilderness by winning the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012, a dramatic turnaround that also ended a five-year run of success for European clubs in the competition and brought the world title back to Brazil and South America for the first time since 2006.

Corinthians’ success recalls the early days of the competition, with Brazilian sides prevailing in the first three editions, among them O Timão, the winners of the inaugural FIFA Club World Cup. All that changed in 2007, when AC Milan initiated a spell of European domination that was continued by Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona, who won it twice, a record now matched by Tite’s Alvinegros.

Their triumph was founded on tactical organisation and the physical prowess and sheer commitment of an experienced group of players, though it is hard to envisage the side having enjoyed all their recent success without the breathtaking support of their loyal fans. The Timão faithful, who rightly describe themselves as a “gang of fanatics”, launched another of the invasions they have become famous for, descending on Japan in their thousands and creating an amazing spectacle.

TOYOTA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 12: Corinthian fans  during the FIFA Club World Cup Semi Final match between Al-Ahly SC and Corinthians at Toyota Stadium on December 12, 2012 in Toyota, Japan.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Speaking to FIFA.com, Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio, who collected the adidas Golden Ball ahead of Chelsea’s David Luiz and O Timão’s goal hero Paolo Guerrero, praised their diehard followers: “We are so grateful to these fans. They’ve been like this all year in Brazil, in every one of our games. It’s fantastic. They always turn up and you never hear them booing or criticising at all. They’re always there to back the team.”

Losing finalists Chelsea FC had arrived in Japan determined to atone for their early UEFA Champions League exit, but had no answer to Corinthians’ application and workrate. As their comprehensive semi-final defeat of Monterrey showed, however, the Londoners have more than enough talent to turn their season around.

The rest of the field Cesar Delgado’s one-man show for Club de Futbol Monterrey against Ulsan Hyundai entertained the crowd in Toyota City and also kept an unusual record going. For the fifth FIFA Club World Cup in a row an Argentinian player scored two goals in one game, Delgado continuing a sequence begun by Christian Gimenez of Pachuca in 2008 and extended by Leandro Benitez of Estudiantes in 2009, Dario Cvitanich of Pachuca in 2010, and Lionel Messi of Barcelona in 2011.

Delgado had a big hand in the Mexicans winning two of their three games and snatching third place from Al-Ahly SC, who were making their fourth appearance since 2005. The Egyptians have now played a record nine FIFA Club World Cup matches, with the vastly experienced trio of Mohamed Aboutrika, Hossam Ashour and Wael Gomaa having played in all of those games.

Cheered on by their vociferous support, surprise Japanese champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima were rewarded for their forward-thinking youth policy with two encouraging wins. After opening up with a 1-0 defeat of Auckland City FC in the quarter-final play-off, the home side were edged out by Al-Ahly in a tough quarter-final before recovering to take fifth place from Ulsan Hyundai in a five-goal Asian derby. The star of their show was captain Hisato Sato, who struck three goals to end the tournament as top scorer, while Toshihiro Aoyama scored the 200th goal in the competition’s history.

The South Koreans were unable to replicate the form that took them to their first AFC Champions League title and lost both their games. Finally, Auckland City can take consolation from two notable statistics: the New Zealanders are the first side along with Al-Ahly to make four appearances in the competition, while their striker Daniel Koprivcic is out on his own as the only man to play in five FIFA Club World Cups.

MATCHES

Tournament News

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16:  Jorge Enrique of Corinthians is challenged by Ashley Cole of Chelsea during the FIFA Club World Cup Final Match between Corinthians and Chelsea at International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2012 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16:  Corinthians line yp for a team photo prior to the FIFA Club World Cup Final Match between Corinthians and Chelsea at International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2012 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16:  Captains Alessandro of Corinthians and Frank Lampard of Chelsea swap pennants prior to the FIFA Club World Cup Final Match between Corinthians and Chelsea at International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2012 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16:  Jorge Enrique of Corinthians is challenged by Ashley Cole of Chelsea during the FIFA Club World Cup Final Match between Corinthians and Chelsea at International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2012 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 11: A view of Tokyo Tower during the FIFA Club World Cup on December 11, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 11: A city taxi drives down the street outside Shinbashi train station during the FIFA Club World Cup on December 11, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 11: A view of Tokyo as the sun sets over Mount Fuji during the FIFA Club World Cup on December 11, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 11: Masks on display in Akasuka during the FIFA Club World Cup on December 11, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Egypt's al-Ahly team pose with the trophy after winning 2-1 against Esperance
Egypt's al-Ahly forward Nagi Ismail celebrates after scoring a goal
Esperance forward Chaker Zouaghi vies for the ball against al-Ahly players Walid Suleiman
Egypt's al-Ahly Nagi gedo vies for the ball against Esperance de Tunis' Chaker Zouaghi
AFC Champions League: Action from the match between Al Ahli and Al Jazeera
Lee Ho of Ulsan Hyundai celebrates with their team mate during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Ulsan Hyundai and Kashiwa Reysol at Munsu Football Stadium on May 30, 2012 in Ulsan, South Korea. Ulsan Hyundai won the Match against Kashiwa Reysol.
Adelaide United celebrates their first goal during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. 
Josh Kennedy of Nagoya is challenged by Jonathan Mckain and Iain Fyfe of Adelaide United during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. 
Adelaide United celebrates their first goal during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. 
Josh Kennedy of Nagoya is challenged by Jonathan Mckain and Iain Fyfe of Adelaide United during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. 
Johnathan McKain celebrates scoring the opening goal for Adelaide United during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. 
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 29: Josh Kennedy of Adelaie United tries to get past Iain Fyfe during the AFC Asian Champions League match between Adelaide United and Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Adelaide, Australia.

Tournament News

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16: Walid Soliman of CF Monterrey gestures during the FIFA Club World Cup 3rd Place Match between Al-Ahly SC and CF Monterrey at International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2012 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

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TOYOTA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 12:  Lee Keunho of Ulsan Hyundai is challenged by Hwang Seokho of Sanfrecce Hiroshima during the FIFA Club World Cup 5th Place match  between Ulsan Hyundai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Toyota Stadium on December 12, 2012 in Toyota, Japan.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

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TOYOTA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 09:  Hisato Sato (C) of  Sanfrecce Hiroshima challenges with Mohamed Nagieb (L) and Wael Gomaa (R) of Al-Ahly SC during the FIFA Club World Cup Quarter Final match between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Al-Ahly SC at Toyota Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Toyota, Japan.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

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TOYOTA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 09:  Lee Keunho (C) of Ulsan Hyundai challenges Sergio Perez (R) and Jesus Corona (L) of Monterrey during the FIFA Club World Cup Quarter Final match between Ulsan Hyundai and CF Monterrey at Toyota Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Toyota, Japan.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

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