Preview: FIFA Club World Cup – Morocco 2014
Last Wednesday, December 10, 2014 FIFA Club World Cup has finally begun: this Edition is played in Rabat and Marrakech, Morocco.
This is the schedule of the Competition (local time, GMT):
10/12/14 – 19.30: Moghreb Tetouan – Auckland City FC 0-0 (3-4 a.p.k.)
13/12/14 – 16: ES Sétif – Auckland City FC (2)
13/12/14 – 19.30: Cruz Azul FC - Western Sydney Wanderers FC (3)
16/12/14 – 19.30: W3 - Real Madrid CF (4)
17/12/14 – 19.30: W2 - CA San Lorenzo (5)
MATCH FOR FIFTH PLACE
17/12/14 – 16.30 – L2 – L3
MATCH FOR THIRD PLACE
20/12/14 – 16.30 – L4- L5
20/12/14 – 19.30 – W4- W5
Now we introduce you all the teams !
OCEANIA: AUCKLAND CITY FC – WINNERS OF 2013/14 OFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Auckland City FC is a bit different team from the one we had introduced you for 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, but the most experienced player is always captain Ivan Vichelich (37, central back, former captain of New Zealandese NT, with whom he has played 88 matches and scored 6 goals so far, playing 2010 World Cup as well; in the past he had a decent caereer in the Dutch top tier with RKC and Roda JC), while other important players are: Tamati Williams (29, second GK of Neozelandese NT), Mario Bilen (28, a defender with a good experience in Croatian top tier), Ángel Berlanga (27, Spanish centre back), John Irving (25, English defender), Tim Payne (20, very interesting midfielder and Neozelandese International), Sam Burfoot (20, midfielder) and strikers João Moreira (28, Portuguese, he collected few games in Primeira Liga), Fabrizio Tavano (21, a Mexican/Italian former Santos Laguna II striker/winger), and, most of all, Emiliano Tade (26, the Argentinian team’s top scorer last season).
MOROCCO: MOGHREB ATHLETIC DE TETOUAN – WINNERS OF 2013/14 BOTOLA
This club was established in 1922 with the name “Athletic Club Tetuán“, that soon became “Club Atlético Tetuán” after the Spanish Civil War. They managed to play in La Liga (1952/53), the Spanish first tier, during the Spanish Protectorate of Northern Morocco, but then, after the Indipendence of Morocco, the club splitted in two teams, the Club Atlético Moghreb, based in Tetouan, that plays in Moroccan Championship, and Club Atlético Tetuán, that merged with Sociedad Deportiva Ceuta and formed Club Atlético Ceuta, that played in Spanish lower divisions.
Moghreb Athletic de Tetouan just recently obtained their most notable achievement, because they has won so far two Moroccan Championships, all of them in the last three years (2011/12 and 2013/14).
The key elements should be the centre back Mohamed Abarhoun (Moroccan International), the midfielder Mehdi Namli (former Moroccan International), the wingers Faouzi Abdelghani (a former Vitória de Guimarães player) and Abdessamad Rafik, and the strikers Anouar Hadouir, who has a good experience in Dutch Eredivisie with Willem II, Roda JC and NAC, and Mouhcine Iajour, a Moroccan International who performed very well during 2013 FIFA Club World Cup with Raja Casablanca.
AFRICA: ES SETIF - WINNERS OF 2014 CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
ES Sétif was founded by Ali Benaouda and Ali Layass in 1958 in Sétif, Algeria, and has won so far 6 Algerian Ligue 1, the Algerian Championship, 8 Algerian Cups, 1 African Cup of Champions Clubs (1988) and 1 Afro-Asian Club Championship.
The social colours are black and white as a sign of sadness after a confrontation with French Army in a match with FC Gadir and the home venue is the Stade 8 Mai 1945, that can hold 25.000 spectators.
The main players are the goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia, the defenders Abdelghani Demmou, currently injuried, the full-backs Mohamed Lagraa and Farid Mellouli, the midfielder Toufik Zerara (former player of Sochaux, Beerschot AC and Falkirk FC) and Lazhar Hadj Aïssa (former Algerian International), the advanced midfielder/winger Akram Djahnit, the winger Eudes Dagoulou, a Central African International, and the striker Abdelmalek Ziaya, a former Algerian International.
NORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA: CRUZ AZUL FC – WINNERS OF 2013/14 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Il CD Cruz Azul è la terza squadra più popolare del Messico e nel suo palmares vanta 8 Campionati e 5 CONCACF Champions League, ed attualmente è in testa al Campionato grazie ad una squadra ricca di talento e di esperienza, praticamente una corazzata, e dovrebbe essere la principale favorita per la vittoria finale della Competizione continentale. I giocatori che meritano una menzione sono tanti: José de Jesús Corona (33, portiere di riserva della Nazionale Messicana), Luis Perea (35, Nazionale Colombiano, ex difensore di Independiente Medellin, CA Boca Juniors ed Atletico Madrid, dove ha giocato per otto anni), Francisco Javier “Maza” Rodríguez (33, difensore della Nazionale messicana, ex Chivas, PSV, Stuttgart and América), Alejandro Castro (26, difensore), Rogelio Chávez (30, terzino), Julio César Domínguez (26, terzino cresciuto nel club, ex Nazionale messicano), Fausto Pinto (30, terzino sinistro, ex Nazionale Messicano), Gerardo Torrado (34, Capitano, ex FC Sevilla e Racing Santander, e soprattutto, se indossate un cappello toglietevelo per rispetto, centrocampista de “La Verde”, con la quale ha totalizzato finora 147 presenze), Pablo Barrera (26, ala, ex UNAM Pumas, West Ham United e Real Saragozza, Nazionale messicano), Hernán Bernardello (28, mediano argentino ex Almeria), Marco Fabiàn (24, trequartista, Nazionale de El Tricolor), Mauro Fòrmica (25, ex trequartista di CA Newell’s Old Boys, Palermo e Blackburn Rovers), Joao Rojas (23, esterno d’attacco della Nazionale ecuadoriana), Christian Giménez (33, Nazionale messicano, seppur nato in Argentina, ex trequartista di CA Boca Juniors e Pachuca CF) e Mariano Pavone (31, ex attaccante di Estudiantes La Plata, Real Betis Balompié, CA Lanùs e CA River Plate).
ASIA: WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS FC - WINNERS OF 2014 AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Western Sydney Wanderers FC is the youngest team in A-League, but, despite being just at its second season, proved to be one of the most successfull franchises in the League, playing two Grand Final in two year (in 2012/13 they lost to Central Coast Mariners), and qualified for AFC Champions League 2013/14 Quarter-finals at its first experience in the continental Competition. The team, that wears a red and black orizontal striped jersey, proved to have, despite sharing the local fanbase with the “older” Sydney FC, a good success on the stands as well, because, with 14.860 spectators per game, has the fourth average attendance in the last A-League, and registered decent numbers (about 11.000 per game) during AFC Champions League games as well, a competition often “snobbed” by australian fans; moreover WSWFC fans are among the loudest in the Country.
The most famous and/or important players in the squad managed by the former Australian International, Anthony Popovic, are: Ante Covic (38, former PAOK FC, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Hammarby IF nd Elfsborg IF goalkepeer), Matthew Spiranovic (25, Australian International, former 1.FC Nürnberg and Urawa Red Diamond right back), Michael Beauchamp (33, former Australian International, former 1.FC Nürnberg and Aalborg BK defender, he’s the Captain of the team), Brendan Hamill (21, promising central back with experience in South Korea), Mateo Poljak (24, former NK Lokomotiva Zagreb croatian midfielder), Brendon Santalab (31 a left winger who played in Belgium, Hungary and China), Romeo Castelen (former ADO, Feyenoord Hamburger SV, Volga NN and RKC Dutch winger, he was considered a big prospect when he was younger), Vitor Saba (former Flamengo, Vitòria and Brescia Brazilian offensive midfielder), Mark Bridge (28, striker) and Tomi Juric (22, Australian International, former NK Lokomotiva Zagreb and NK Inter Zapresic forward).
SOUTH AMERICA: CA SAN LORENZO DE ALMAGRO – WINNERS OF 2014 COPA LIBERTADORES
San Lorenzo is a Club from Buenos Aires who was founded in 1908, also thanks to the idea of a Catholic priest, Don Lorenzo Massa, who let the children, who were playing football on the road use the backyard of his Church, under the condition they would have gone to mass on Sundays, because playing in the streets was becoming very dangerous because of increasing traffic.
“El Ciclon” (one of the several nicknames of the club) is considered one of the five big Club in Argentina, and has conquered so far 15 national Championship, 1 Copa Mercosur and 1 Copa Sudamericana, and is supported by Aragorn from “The Lord of the Rings” (a.k.a. Viggo Mortensen), and, it is very known, by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis.
The team is managed by Edgardo Bauza and its most important or famous members are goalkeepers Leo Franco (former Argentinian International and former Mallorca, Atlético Madrid, Galatasaray and Real Zaragoza GK) and Sebastián Torrico, the defenders Fabricio Fontanini, Mario Yepes (former Colombian International and Deportivo Cali, River Plate, Nantes, PSG, Chievo Verona, Atalanta and AC Milan centre back), Mauro Cetto (former Nantes, Tolosa, Palermo and Lille central back) and Wálter Kannemann, the right-back Julio Buffarini and the left one Emanuel Más.
In the midfield there are Juan Mercier, Enzo Kalinski and Néstor Ortigoza (Paraguaian International), the wingers Pablo Barrientos (former FK Moskva and Catania player) and Ignacio Piatti, and the offensive midfielders Leandro Romagnoli, a former Argentinian International who was one of the club’s brightest prospect at the beginning of 2000′s and has come back to his first club in 2009 after playing abroad at Sporting de Portugal and Veracruz, and is still one of the key element of the team.
In the attack there isn’ probably a top striker, anyway there are few decent forwards, such as the Uruguaian Martín Cauteruccio, Mauro Matos, Nicolás Blandi and the 19-year-old Héctor Villalba.
EUROPE: REAL MADRID CF – WINNERS OF 2013/14 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
We don’t need to spend many words about this team, you surely know it better than us: a club that has won 32 La Liga, 19 Copa del Rey, 9 Supercopa de España, 10 UEFA Champions League, 2 UEFA Cups, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 3 Intercontinental Cups doesn’t need any introduction.
The GKs are Iker Casillas, the Captain who sometimes is the weak ring of the chain because of few mistakes, but he can do great saves as well, and the Costarican International Keylor Navas, while in the defence we can find the centre backs Sergio Ramos, who can score sevaral goals as well, Pepe and their replacement Raphaël Varane, and the full-backs Marcelo and Daniel Carvajal.
In the midfield there are the playmakers Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, and the wingers/advanced midfielders James Rodríguez, Isco, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, probably the best, or one of the best, footballers in the world, while the main striker is Karim Benzema, whose replacement is Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez.
Carlo Ancelotti brought “La Decima” (the tenth Champions League) to Madrid at the first attempt: he’s very good to manage a group of great stars, to make them coexist and keep them motivated.