How every Premier League club has fared in the Club World Cup

Manchester City are aiming to be crowned world champions on Friday evening, as the Champions League winners take on Copa Libertadores holders Fluminense in the Club World Cup final.

Various versions of a world cup for clubs have existed over the years, but the ongoing FIFA Club World Cup is recognised as the official competition to crown an inter-continental champion.

Manchester City are competing in the Club World Cup final after their treble success last season, with Pep Guardiola’s team having thrashed Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the semi-finals. Fluminense are the opposition, after the Brazilian side were crowned South American champions for the first time this season.


Ahead of the clash, we remember how every Premier League team has fared in the Club World Cup.

Manchester United – 2000

In the 1999/2000 season, Manchester United jetted off to Brazil for the inaugural Club World Cup. The problem, however, was that it was scheduled to take place during the first week of January, which is traditionally when the FA Cup third round takes place. The club chose to pull out of the FA Cup, a decision which has been widely credited with the tournament’s devaluation in the modern era.

Some said United were justified in going and taking advantage of the commercial possibilities it presented, while others criticised them for not, at the very least, fielding a reserve squad in the FA Cup.

If the Red Devils were looking for vindication on the pitch, they didn’t find it. They flew out to South America as Treble winners and with expectations of trouncing the opposition, but instead they were embarrassed on the world stage.

The first edition of the tournament featured two groups of four, but United managed one win from their three matches. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat South Melbourne 2-0 in their opening game, before requiring a late Dwight Yorke equaliser to earn a draw with Mexican outfit Necaxa.

Their final game saw United beaten 3-1 by Brazil’s Vasco Da Gama. Romario scored twice that day, alongside this filthy effort from Edmundo.

Perhaps the only consolation was that Real Madrid, who were invited by FIFA, didn’t fare much better, losing a third-place playoff to Necaxa on penalties. Former Liverpool midfielder Steve McManaman missed one of the spot-kicks for the Spanish side.

United did at least win the Intercontinental Cup in November 1999, defeating Palmeiras in Tokyo, Japan.

Liverpool – 2005

The tournament, which was set to be hosted by Spain in 2001, was actually postponed due to “financial problems and a congested fixture list“. The postponement was initially meant to last until 2003, but it didn’t return for another two years after that, meaning Liverpool featured in just the second Club World Cup ever.

The Merseyside outfit arrived in Japan basking in the post-Istanbul glow of their unbelievable Champions League triumph, and handily disposed of Singaporean side Deportivo Saprissa 3-0 in the semi-final. Steven Gerrard scored either side of a Peter Crouch effort.

Liverpool couldn’t get the job done in Yokohama, however, losing the final 1-0 to Sao Paulo. Mineiro scored the only goal of the game in the 27th minute, but the Reds could not muster up an equaliser as the Brazilians held on for victory.

Manchester United – 2008

Nine years after the disaster in Brazil, Man United were far more successful in their second appearance in the Club World Cup in 2008.

United, who had won a Premier League and Champions League double the previous season, defeated Japanese outfit Gamba Osaka 5-3 in a frankly ridiculous semi-final. There were four goals between the 74th and 79th minutes, before Osaka scored two late consolation goals in the final six minutes of the match.

In the final they faced Liga De Quito, an Ecuadorian club who had beaten Fluminense in the Copa Libertadores final earlier that year. Wayne Rooney was the difference maker in the decider, scoring the winning goal in the second-half as Alex Ferguson completed the set of major honours in premier competitions.

Chelsea – 2012

Following their improbable Champions League success in the previous campaign, Chelsea arrived in Japan for the Club World Cup having already sacked their manager. Roberto Di Matteo had been replaced by Rafael Benitez, but the Spaniard could not guide the Blues to world glory.

It got off to a good start for the West London outfit though, as they breezed past Monterrey 3-1 in the semi-finals, with the goals coming from Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and a Darvin Chavez own goal.

In what had become a bit of a tradition for English teams in this competition, Chelsea lost to a Brazilian team in the final. Peruvian legend Paolo Guerrero scored the winner for Corinthians in the 69th minute of the game.

Liverpool – 2019

Liverpool returned to the Club World Cup final in 2019, after beating Tottenham in an all-English Champions League final the previous season.

The Reds added world-champion status to their European champion title, with Roberto Firmino’s extra-time goal against Flamengo handing Jurgen Klopp’s side the trophy.

Firmino had scored a stoppage-time winner against Mexico’s Monterrey in the semi-final, before settling the final with the only goal of the game.

Liverpool became just the second English team to win the Club World Cup, justifying the decision to send a full strength squad to Qatar for the competition. The Reds were forced to field their youngest ever side for a League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa, which was scheduled 24 hours before their Club World Cup semi-final in the Middle East, and lost 5-0.

Chelsea – 2021

Chelsea also avenged a previous defeat in the Club World Cup final, after beating Palmeiras in the 2021 edition of the tournament.

Kai Havertz, who scored the winner in the Champions League final against Manchester City the previous season, scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot in the 117th minute, after the tie had been taken into extra-time. Raphael Veiga had cancelled out Romelu Lukaku’s opener for the West Londoners in Abu Dhabi.

The win meant Chelsea had now won every possible trophy under the ownership Roman Abramovich.

Read – Guardiola wary of unique Fluminense test ahead of Club World Cup final

See more – Guardiola urges Man City to take Club World Cup chance

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