AFC President sends best wishes to Asia’s Qatar 2019 contenders
Kuala Lumpur: AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has wished Asia’s representatives – newly-crowned AFC Champions League winners, Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia and host club Al Sadd from Qatar – successful campaigns in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, which takes place between December 11 to 21 in Doha.
The two West Asian clubs will be on the hunt to emulate the outstanding performances of Japan’s Kashima Antlers and UAE’s Al Ain, both of whom finished as runners-up at the 2016 and 2018 editions of the global club showpiece.
Doha: Head coach Xavi Hernandez has set Al Sadd a semi-final target in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, with the Doha-based side kicking off their campaign against Oceania champions Hienghène Sport at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Wednesday.
A win over the New Caledonia side, who are making their debut in the global event, will take Qatar champions Al Sadd to a second round meeting with Mexican outfit Monterrey and Xavi is hoping his team can emulate recent showings by Asian teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
UAE's Al Ain FC made the final last year while Japan's Kashima Antlers were runners-up in the 2016 edition. Al Sadd finished third in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup.
Should Al Sadd navigate past Hienghène and Monterrey, their semi-final date will be against UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool.
Doha: Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SFC and Qatar’s Al Sadd SC are primed for world class action in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 which kicks off on Wednesday.
The 16th edition of the global showpiece will pit the champions from the six Continental Confederations, as well as the host nation's league champions, with the final on December 21 at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Hosts Al Sadd will have to negate the first round against New Caledonia’s Hienghene Sport, who won the 2019 OFC Champions League, while Al Hilal will lock horns with 2019 CAF Champions League winners Esperance ST of Tunisia in the second round.
Riyadh: The 2019 AFC Champions League came to a conclusion with Al Hilal dominating the scene. After a 20-year drought, the Saudi giants finally won the title, with the team’s French striker, Bafetimbi Gomis, emerging as the tournament’s best player and top scorer with 11 goals.
Speaking exclusively to FIFA.com, the 34-year old Frenchman revealed the secrets to his impressive performances this season: “I worked hard on every level to score all these goals: technically, tactically and physically. The fitness coaches helped me a lot and thanks to my teammates I ended up the AFC Champions League’s top scorer and best player. I’m fortunate to be playing with a generation of talented Saudi players.”
New champions to be crowned at Khalifa International Stadium
Doha: Khalifa International Stadium, the home of Qatar’s national team, will host three additional matches during the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 after the official opening of Education City Stadium was postponed until early 2020.
In addition to the double-header of games on December 17 – the fifth-place play-off and the semi-final involving CONMEBOL Libertadores winners Flamengo – Khalifa International Stadium will also host the second semi-final, involving UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool on December 18, along with the final and the third-place play-off on December 21.
Doha: The seven contenders at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 have named the 23-man squads they hope will catapult them to global glory.
It’s less than a week until kick-off, with fans across Qatar eagerly awaiting seeing the likes of Liverpool, Flamengo, Monterrey, Esperance Sportive de Tunis, Al Hilal SFC, Hienghene Sport and host side Al Sadd SC. The latter pair will get the tournament under way on Wednesday at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Doha: There is no doubt that Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the world right now. The imposing Dutchman was runner-up to Lionel Messi at The Best FIFA Men’s Player earlier this year, and as a result has become used to rubbing shoulders with the world’s greatest at the upper echelons of the game.
Van Dijk has yet to test himself on the global stage for his country though. The Liverpool man made his senior international debut in October 2015, and with the Oranje missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, he has not graced the biggest stage at international level.
For the former Celtic and Southampton defender, the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 not only serves to whet the appetite for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - it also gives him a chance to shine in a global setting for the very first time.