World Club Cup: The Day Before* the Brawl

* Or is it? I don’t pay enough attention to how the International Date Line works, so maybe the opening game already happened already, at least in terms of the date. Probably not, though…moving on…

Kick-off for the World Club Cup play-in, which pits Iran’s Sepahan against Waitakere United’s (part-timers) from New Zealand comes in, oh, 13 hours (full TV schedule; a more detailed layout appears on soccertv.com). With the tournament so close, I’m working on getting psyched up for the thing, but I’m finding myself reliant on official sources – e.g. FIFA.com’s official site – in order to do so.  They certainly try by frequent uses of the adjectives like “ultimate” and “prestigious” for describing the trophy…here I thought the whole thing was just one more straw laid gently on players’ backs by FIFA and the clubs, all done with the apparent goal of breaking them without anyone noticing…

Knowing that official sites are ever-willing to stroke their product, I thought I’d poke around for some kind of buzz in non-official outlets. Sadly, a search of Google news – using “2007 FIFA World Club Cup” as the search words – hit only a few items and most of those coming from FIFA.com. Now that I’ve got a viewing schedule nailed down, I fully intend to do my bit to provide independent content, but FIFA.com looks like the well-spring for any pre-tourney hype (he writes without checking club sites).

Grousing about corporatist media outlets out of the way, I can say that the news section of FIFA.com’s site at least has plenty of content. That’s where I learned that all the World Club Cup tournaments operating under the present format have crowned Brazilian clubs as champions (Corinthians (2000), Sao Paulo (2005) and Internacional (2006)). That will change, if nothing else, thanks to the absence of Brazilian clubs in the 2007 tournament. Obviously, Argentina’s Boca Juniors and Italy’s AC Milan enter the lists as favorites, but we can imagine a different outcome…can’t we? Then again, Milan’s stars – guys like Kaka and Clarence Seedorf (shit…how old is that dude?) – wax eloquent in pre-game interviews about their “burning desire” to lift the World Club Cup (to which my first response as the interviewer would be, “No shit? C’mon, the tape recorder is off…now, tell me: you feel like well-compensated chattel don’t you?”

As a side-note, I should mention that Kaka seems equally up for the 2009 Confederations Cup…and guess who will be in attendance at that one? (HINT: Bob Bradley coaches this “mystery” team.)

As noted yesterday, I’m pulling for Mexico’s CF Pachuca, who I was glad to read of coach Enrique Meza’s strong desire to “represent” for CONCACAF (yeah, it’s low in the article, but I want to think it’s high in his mind). Just to remind interested parties, their first (and possibly only) game airs Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. PST.

Turning to more pressing matters – e.g. the tournament opening play-in – the FIFA.com provides a preview, even if it’s one that leans a bit toward the Iranians. Then again, that could be down to the fact that Waitakere U are part-timers – much like last year’s entrants from New Zealand, Auckland City. Speaking of whom, it turns out Waitakere reloaded its roster with some players from the Auckland City side, a detail that begs the question of how Auckland fared in 2006. Y’know? It wasn’t horrible: Auckland lost their play-in against Egypt’s Al-Ahly by a respectable 2-0. At any rate, all that junk I passed on – plus some names to watch for – appeared in an article in which Waitakere’s coach admits he’s facing a “huge challenge.” For the record, though, I’ve rarely heard a less uplifting pre-game chatter from a coach than you’ll read in that article (“Yeah, we may get humiliated. It is what it is.”).

For their part, Sepahan just want revenge against the side that cost them the Asian Football Confederation title, Urawa Red Diamonds. Assuming they get past the Kiwis, they’ll have their shot (damned early) Monday morning.

I’m planning on getting up early tomorrow to watch the play-in, so I should have a report on that some time early tomorrow morning.  Till then…

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One Response

  1. Kaka – very good player! I believe in him.

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