World awaits final between continental schools of football
Qatar 2019 coming to a conclusion
Liverpool face Flamengo in eagerly-awaited decider
Monterrey and Al Hilal vying for third place
The FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™ reaches its climax this Saturday with the meeting of UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool, who booked their place at the expense of Monterrey in a hard-fought semi-final, and Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo, who turned the tables on Al Hilal in the second half of their last-four fixture. All eyes will be on Doha to watch this showdown between these European and South American schools of football.
Before the final, Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal and Mexico's Monterrey will square off in the match for third place. This promises to be another fascinating fixture, given the former’s fine performance against ES Tunis and in the first half of their semi against Flamengo, and the latter’s powerful showing in the second semi-final, when they pushed Liverpool all the way.
📅 The games
Match for third place
21 December, Khalifa International Stadium, 17:30 local time
21 December, Khalifa International Stadium, 20:30 local time
📌 What you need to know
This will not be the first meeting of Liverpool and Flamengo as representatives of their regions. The pair went toe-to-toe in the Intercontinental Cup final of 1981, when Fla defeated their English opponents 3-0 in front of 62,000 fans at Tokyo’s National Stadium. Victory for the Reds would be doubly sweet and enable them to not only avenge that 1981 loss, but also claim a maiden Club World Cup title, having lost the final of the 2005 edition to another Brazilian club, Sao Paulo.
Both clubs will be hoping to field full strength sides for the final, which for Liverpool will mean a likely return to the starting XI for Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane. Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, who has been unable to train since arriving in Doha, could possibly return for the decider and restore balance to a Liverpool defence that looked vulnerable on more than once occasion against Monterrey.
🔎 Players to watch
Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey)
A talented striker in the traditional mould, Funes Mori strikes fear in the heart of opposition defences. Just ask Liverpool, against whom he scored his second goal of Qatar 2019 after finding himself in the right position for a close-range finish in the semi-final. It was also his 100th goal for Monterrey, marking him out as someone to watch as he goes in search of more in the match for third place and a possible tournament top-scorer award.
Bruno Henrique (Flamengo)
Liverpool's defence will surely be tested by Flamengo's formidable front line, especially with Bruno Henrique at the top of his game. The Brazilian netted a brilliant header in the second half against Al Hilal and was instrumental in the third own goal that Ali Albulayhi put into his own net. Known for his speed and technical skills, attributes that take him past opponents and into great positions, he is equally impressive when it comes to converting chances and is especially good with his head.