Japan 2015 serves as the 12th FIFA Club World Cup in history, and it is the seventh edition of the prestigious tournament hosted in the Land of the Rising Sun. It is a relatively young event, but has already produced a host of incidents and events destined to stick in the memory. FIFA.com casts an eye back over the 11 editions of the tournament to date.
2000: Dramatic debut
The inaugural Club World Cup took place in Brazil and ended in an all-Brazilian final between Vasco da Gama and Corinthians. A huge crowd of 73,000 at the venerable Maracana saw the game go all the way to penalties, with the Sao Paulo side holding their nerve and becoming the first-ever winners of the tournament.
The Club World Cup remained in Brazilian hands and even in the same city as Sao Paulo FC won the second edition of the tournament. The star of the show was keeper Rogerio Ceni, who scored a penalty in the semi-final and thwarted favourites Liverpool in the final with a string of top-class saves. Ceni’s reward for an exceptional performance was not only the trophy itself, but also the adidas Golden Ball for the best player.
2006: Internacional shock Barcelona
Barcelona headed for Japan as overwhelming favourites for the trophy, as the UEFA Champions League holders boasted a star-studded team including the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco, Xavi and Carles Puyol. But the final in Yokohama turned into a nightmare for the Catalans as they fell to a shock defeat against an Internacional team composed of players largely unknown outside their home country, who combined their talents to form a formidable and effective unit.
2007: The first European triumph
After a hat-trick of South American winners AC Milan became the first European team to claim the honours. In an ironic twist, Brazilian wizard Kaka was key to I Rossoneri’s success, as the attacking midfielder crowned an outstanding year with a superb performance at the tournament. Named FIFA World Player of the Year just a short time before the showdown in Japan, the top scorer in the UEFA Champions League also took home the adidas Golden Ball at the Club World Cup.
2008: Goal-hungry United take the trophy
Manchester United fans will always hold cherished memories of 2008. The Red Devils won both the UEFA Champions League and the English championship before crowning an excellent year with the trophy at the FIFA Club World Cup. United’s semi-final against Gamba Osaka rates among the most spectacular matches in tournament history. An eight-goal thriller was ultimately settled by Wayne Rooney, who cracked a brace within five minutes of coming on as a sub.
2009: Barcelona and Pedro make history
Barcelona were back with a vengeance in 2009 and made history as the first-ever club to claim six out of six possible trophies in a calendar year. The Catalans won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, beating the previous best of five trophies set by Amsterdam giants Ajax in 1972. In the final against Estudiantes, Pedro not only saved his team from defeat by sending the game into extra time, he carved his name into the history books as the first player in the world to score in six different competitions in the space of a single year.
2010: TP Mazembe hit the headlines
After a run of five finals between teams from Europe and South America, the 2010 Club World Cup in United Arab Emirates saw an African side make the title decider for the first time. Congo DR representatives TP Mazembe upset the form book with victories over Pachuca and Internacional, although Internazionale ultimately proved too strong for the surprise package of the tournament. However, the fans took the exuberant Africans to their hearts, and were bowled over by the unique goal celebrations of keeper Robert Kidiaba, who marked his team’s goals by bouncing around his penalty area - on his backside.
Lionel Messi spearheaded Barcelona’s charge to their second Club World Cup triumph, emphatically settling the eagerly-awaited head-to-head with FC Santos starlet Neymar in his favour. However, the young Brazilian left a good impression on the powers that be at the Catalan giants, who added him to their ranks within the space of 18 months.
2012: A Corinthians invasion, part two
A year later Corinthians emulated Barça and won the prestigious trophy for the second time, shocking Chelsea in the final. The Brazilians were good out on the field, but arguably even more impressive on the terraces: the thousands of fans who made the long trip to Japan supporting their heroes’ international quest in magnificent fashion. Their unconditional and boisterous backing reawakened memories of 1976 when some 70,000 Corinthians supporters from Sao Paulo flocked to the Maracana for an away fixture against Fluminense.
2013: Bayern Munich bring trophy back to Europe
The Club World Cup trophy would only remain on South American soil for 12 months’ time as Bayern Munich stormed into Morocco to bring the prize back to Europe. After seeing off Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-finals, Pep Guardiola’s came up against tournament hosts Raja Casablanca, who made a stunning run to the tournament final after taking down Auckland City, Monterrey, Atletico Mineiro before falling to the Bavarian giants 2-0 courtesy of goals from Dante and Thiago in an impressive performance led by Franck Ribery.
2014: Real Madrid make long awaited return
Los Blancos made their only previous appearance at the Club World Cup in the tournament’s inaugural edition where they finished a disappointing fourth. 14 years later, Carlo Ancelotti led his side to glory in Morocco to earn Real Madrid’s first Club World Cup title, taking down South American side San Lorenzo 2-0 in the final. The Europeans may have ensured the trophy remained on the Old Continent, but Auckland City stole the show with their impressive third place finish as the Oceania side only narrowly missed out on an appearance in the final after losing out in extra-time in the semi-final.