Football

Impressive Asian appearances in previous editions of Club World Cup

The AFC website has shed light on the most significant performance of Asian teams in different CWC editions.

Impressive Asian appearances in previous editions of Club World Cup
Handout Qatar 2022/Supreme Committee via Getty Images

Ahead of the kick-off of the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, with an opening game between Tigres UANL and Ulsan Hyundai, the AFC website reminded its fans of the most prominent Asian appearances in previous CWCs, with both Ulsan Hyundai and Al Duhail set to represent the Asian continent in this year's championship.

Urawa Red Diamonds (2007)

A few weeks following their victory over Iranians  Sepahan in the AFC Champions League final, Urawa managed to claim another victory over the same rival in their opening game of the 2007 CWC, setting up a very tough clash against European champions AC Milan, who sabotaged the Japanese dream with a late strike from Clarence Seedorf in the second half of extra time. However, Urawa went on to become the first Asian team to win a bronze medal in the competition through a penalty shootout victory over Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel.

Al-Sadd SC (2011)

Having ended a five-year domination of East Asia's clubs, Al-Sadd of Qatar qualified for the 2011 edition of the tournament by claiming a very important 2-1 victory over African champions Esperance, before they clashed with UEFA Champions League champions FC Barcelona, who had an invincible squad back then. The Blaugrana claimed an easy and convincing 4-0 win over the Asian team, who didn't lose their motivation as they became the first Western Asian team to finish third in the tournament after defeating Kashiwa Reysol on penalties.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima (2015)

In their second appearance after finishing fifth in 2012, the J League winners beat Oceania champions Auckland City 2-0 in their opening game, before delivering another convincing performance against DR Congo’s TP Mazembe in the quarter-finals, claiming a 3-0 victory.

The Japanese side later fell to a 1-0 defeat to Copa Libertadores champions River Plate after proving to be a tough opponent, before getting back on track with a 2-1 victory over Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande to secure the third place.

Kashima Antlers (2016)

Kashima Antlers' campaign in the 2016 edition is considered one of the most successful Asian contributions as the Japanese champions managed to claim three victories over Auckland City, South Africans Mamelodi Sundowns and Colombians Atlético Nacional, making their way to the final, where they had a 2-1 lead against European champions Real Madrid, impressing football fans around the globe, before the Spanish team levelled to take the game into extra time.

Then-Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo managed to complete his hat-trick in extra time, handing the Japanese a bitter defeat that took nothing away from their unforgettable performance throughout the tournament.

Al-Ain (2018)

Emiratis Al-Ain repeated Kashima Antler's achievement in 2018 by achieving three consecutive victories that started with a win over New Zealand's Team Wellington, where they claimed a magnificent comeback after falling three goals behind to secure their spot in the second stage after a penalty shootout.

They then defeated Tunisians Espérance de Tunis 3-0 in style before beating Argentina's River Plate in the semi-final 5-4 on penalties, on a night when goalkeeper Khalid Eisa emerged as the hero when he saved Enzo Pérez's spot-kick to  send his team to the final.

The Emiratis' dream campaign ended in the title decider against Real Madrid, who claimed a 4-1 victory over the Asians.