September 17 – The 2019 Club World Cup is taking shape with Liverpool as red-hot favourites in a tournament that will mark Qatar’s first major test run ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
It will be the second time that the hosts of the next World Cup stage a major FIFA tournament (they hosted the U-20 World Cup in 1995). Since 2005, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco have hosted the competition, but the next two iterations of the Club World Cup have been scheduled in Qatar. In 2021, FIFA wants to reformat the Club World Cup into a 24-team tournament with China as potential hosts.
Real Madrid have won the last three editions of the Club World Cup on the back of an unprecedented dominance in Europe. Yesterday’s draw will see Liverpool face Mexico’s Monterey, New Caledonia’s Hienghène Sport or Qatar’s Al Sadd in their semi-final on December 18, Qatar’s National Day and the date of the 2022 World Cup final.
On December 17, the South American champions will enter the fray with a last-four game against African champion Esperance of Tunisia or the Asian Champions League winner. The Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the European Champions League, is at the semi-final stage with Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors and Brazilian clubs Flamengo and Gremio all in contention.
The winner of the African Champions might still not be decided. Moroccan club Wydad abandoned the final after a controversially disallowed goal and the referee awarded the match an hour later to Esperance, but the Moroccans could still seek ‘justice’ at CAS after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) rejected Wydad’s appeal on Sunday.
Hienghène Sport, the surprise package from New Caledonia, will kick off the tournament on December 11 against Qatari champions Al Sadd or the Asian Champions League runners-up. The tournament will culminate with the final on December 21.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571752062labto1571752062ofdlr1571752062owedi1571752062sni@o1571752062fni1571752062