The future of the Club World Cup continues to remain up in the air, with FIFA looking to give the competition a major overhaul.

However, going by this year’s edition, it deserves to stay in the current format.

Just last night, both matches finished in penalty shootouts, with a third occurring in the play-off.

This year’s competition is unpredictable as ever and last night’s result featuring UAE club Al Ain proves it.

‘The Boss’ led early against recent Copa Libertadores winners River Plate and forced the match into extra time. Al Ain were victorious on penalties, winning 5-4.

The UAE club now progresses to the final of the competition and a possible matchup against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid awaits them. Given their form this season, a Real win is far from certain.

Real Madrid face Japanese club and Asian Champions League winners Kashima Antlers tonight and the result could go either way. Kashima defeated Mexican side Guadalajara in the quarter-final of the competition.

On paper, it should be a comfortable win for the Madrid side. However, they have had a difficult season and have struggled against weaker opposition multiple times. Some results include:

  • 3-0 loss to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League
  • 3-0 loss to Eibar in La Liga
  • 2-1 loss to Levante in La Liga
  • 3-0 loss to Sevilla in La Liga

It is certainly not the Real Madrid that we have seen in the past.

If Real Madrid go into the match complacent, a victory for Kashima would not be surprising. The same applies if they make the final of the competition, where they will face a team playing in their own country in front of their fans.

With the future of the competition undecided upon, this year’s edition suggests that the current format should remain.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com