Feb 5, 2021
Feb 5, 2021

Club World Cup 2020 preview

Which teams are in the Club World Cup?

Who will win the Club World Cup?

Club World Cup stats

Things to consider for Club World Cup betting

Club World Cup 2020 preview

Qatar is getting ready to stage the latest edition of the Club World Cup, which will once again be determining the world’s best team after originally being postponed from December. Which clubs are participating, who are the favourites, and what should bettors consider for their tournament predictions? Read on to find out.

Dates: February 4-11, 2021

Host: Qatar

Club World Cup 2020 teams

Team

Representing

Entry round

Bayern Munich

Europe (UEFA)

Semi-finals

Palmeiras / Santos

South America (CONMEBOL)

Semi-finals

Al-Duhali

Qatar (host nation)

First round

Al Ahly

Africa (CAF)

First round

Tigres UANL

North America (CONCACAF)

First round

Ulsan Hyundai

Asia (AFC)

First round

NB: Auckland City was nominated as Oceania’s (OFC) entrant after the 2020 OFC Champions League was cancelled. However, they withdrew from the competition, citing travel difficulties as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

How does the Club World Cup work?

The Club World Cup is an annual soccer tournament comprised of seven teams: the six reigning champions of each major continental competition and a nominated club from the host nation (usually their most recent league champions). Following Auckland City’s withdrawal, this year’s tournament will feature only six clubs.

As a result, this edition will also utilise a reduced three-round format. In the first round, Al-Duhali will play Al Ahly, with the winner earning a semi-final spot against Bayern Munich, while Tigres UANL and Ulsan Hyundai will face off, with the winner then contesting the other semi-final against the CONMEBOL entrant.

From that point, the semi-final winners will contest the final and the two losers will participate in a third-place playoff. While this edition of the tournament is taking place in February 2021, it is still being officially referred to as the 2020 Club World Cup.

Schedule:

February 4: Al-Duhail vs. Al Ahly (First round)
February 4: Tigres UANL vs. Ulsan Hyundai (First round)
February 7: Palmeiras / Santos vs. First round winners (Semi-finals)
February 8: Bayern Munich vs. First round winners (Semi-finals)
February 11: Third-place play-off
February 11: Final

Who will win the Club World Cup?

Year

Champion

Score

Runner-up

2010

Inter Milan

3-0

TP Mazembe

2011

Barcelona

4-0

Santos

2012

Corinthians

1-0

Chelsea

2013

Bayern Munich

2-0

Raja Casablanca

2014

Real Madrid

2-0

San Lorenzo

2015

Barcelona

3-0

River Plate

2016

Real Madrid

4-2 (AET)

Kashima Antlers

2017

Real Madrid

1-0

Gremio

2018

Real Madrid

4-1

Al-Ain

2019

Liverpool

1-0 (AET)

Flamengo

European teams have dominated this tournament during the last decade, winning all but one of the last 10 editions and reaching the final on every occasion. More often than not, their opponent has been the South American entrant, who have reached the final six times in the last 10 years. The African and Asian clubs have progressed to the final on two occasions apiece during the same period.

With this in mind, Bayern Munich seem the obvious favourite to repeat their 2013 success. They won last season’s UEFA Champions League as part of a treble in spectacular fashion, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to win every fixture in the process while netting 43 goals in 11 matches.

Amidst a few concerns about defensive issues, they have largely carried over the same form into this season, presently sitting first in the Bundesliga and having comfortably topped their Champions League group. Talisman Robert Lewandowski, who was last season’s Champions League top scorer with 15 goals, has already netted 24 in all competitions during this campaign as of January 20.

Palmeiras and Santos will contest an all-Brazilian Copa Libertadores final to decide the South American entrant on January 30. Despite a series of recent managerial switches, the former are on the cusp of a trophy-laden start to 2021, having also reached the Copa Brasil final while residing among the teams who are challenging for the Brasileirao league title.

For Santos, Copa Libertadores success would represent the culmination of two years’ worth of immense improvements, having disappointingly exited the first round of the Copa Sudamericana in 2019. Their route to the final has been built upon strong defensive performances and they have only conceded four goals in their last six continental matches.

Al-Duhali edged a tight title race to top last season’s Qatari Stars League by a solitary point ahead of Al-Rayyan. This was the seventh time they have won the league since 2010-11, although they have consistently found it difficult to translate domestic success into continental prowess. Their key player is former Bayern Munich and Juventus defender Medhi Benatia, and Mario Mandzukic also recently concluded a short stint at the club.

Al Ahly asserted their status as the most successful team in the history of the CAF Champions League when they lifted the trophy for a record ninth time in November. They are also Egypt’s most decorated club, having racked up a total of 79 league titles and domestic cups. However, they have often found the Club World Cup a step too far, with their best performance being a third-place finish in 2006.

Mexican outfit Tigres UANL are Club World Cup debutants, after they successfully won the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time by defeating Los Angeles FC in December’s final. They regularly challenge for the Liga MX title, and can boast notable talents including defender Hugo Ayala and veteran French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac.

This is Ulsan Hyundai’s second Club World Cup appearance, after they won the AFC Champions League for the first time since 2012. The Korean side’s run to the final was impressively dominant, as they won 10 out of 11 matches while conceding just eight goals. Suitably, they are managed by Hong Myung-bo, a highly regarded coach with a reputation for instilling defensive rigour in his teams.

Things to consider for Club World Cup betting

Year

Total goals

Goals per game

2010

27

3.38

2011

24

3.00

2012

21

2.63

2013

28

3.50

2014

20

2.50

2015

21

2.63

2016

28

3.50

2017

18

2.25

2018

33

4.13

2019

30

3.75

As a consequence of its format, the Club World Cup can pit teams of wildly varying ability against each other and therefore often witnesses high-scoring matches. Indeed, nine of the last 10 tournaments averaged at least 2.5 goals per game, with four of the last seven turning in an average of at least 3.5 per game.

Host nation representatives have enjoyed a good spell in the Club World Cup in recent years, often reaching the semi-final.

The last two tournaments have been particularly goal-laden, with six of the eight final, semi-final, and third-place play off matches featuring at least three goals.

Ordinarily, the Both Teams to Score market is worth monitoring during the Club World Cup. Both teams scored in 15 of the 24 matches at the last three editions and in six of the eight in 2019. Notably, the exception here tends to be in the final – in eight of the last 10, the winners have kept a clean sheet.

Host nation representatives have enjoyed a good spell in the Club World Cup in recent years. They have progressed to at least the semi-finals in four of the last five tournaments and Kashima Antlers impressively took Real Madrid to extra time in the 2016 final. Therefore, Al-Duhail could be worth considering for their fixture against Al Ahly.

However, all of this advice features the caveat that the Club World Cup is a sporadic tournament capable of featuring entirely different entrants to the year before (as is the case this time). Therefore, there is less justification for simply following trends and as always, it is best to analyse each game on an individual basis before subscribing to historic patterns.

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