Monday 04 March 2024, 16:30

Asia and Europe take centre stage in FIFA Club World Cup 2025™ qualification race

  • The inaugural Mundial de Clubes FIFA™ is set for the United States in 2025

  • Nineteen out of 32 clubs have secured their spot at the tournament

  • Matches in the UEFA Champions League and AFC Champions League could further narrow the field over the next seven days

Qualification for the inaugural 32-team edition of FIFA’s new prime club competition, Mundial de Clubes FIFA™ (FIFA Club World Cup™), is well underway with many key fixtures to be played over the coming weeks. Nineteen clubs have already locked in their place. Oceania (OFC) is the only confederation that has no more slots left to fill, however places in Europe (UEFA), Asia (AFC), South America (CONMEBOL), North, Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf), Asia (AFC), and Africa (CAF) are still up for grabs. We highlight the key fixtures being played over the next week.

Lamine Yamal of FC Barcelona runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Mathias Olivera of SSC Napoli during the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 first leg match

11 March Al Nassr v Al Ain 12 March FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli Ulsan HD FC v Jeonbuk Motors 13 March Borussia Dortmund v PSV Eindhoven Club Atlético de Madrid v FC Internazionale Milano

SS Lazio v FC Bayern München: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24


SSC Napoli and SS Lazio are still active in the UCL and can clinch their spot by winning the competition. They can also qualify via the ranking pathway. For Lazio to have a chance of claiming the spot, they would need to make it to the UCL final, and claim an additional 12 ranking points on that journey. Lazio currently lead FC Bayern München 1-0 following their first-leg home match and will travel to Germany on 5 March. If Lazio fail to accrue 12 more points, Napoli could secure qualification by winning two more matches in the UCL. They are currently locked at 1-1 following their first leg home match against FC Barcelona (ESP) and will play the return leg in Spain on 12 March. Juventus are currently leading the rankings but cannot earn any further points. They would qualify if Barcelona and Bayern win their ties in March.

Real Sociedad's Portuguese forward #21 Andre Silva (L) fights for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain's Portuguese midfielder #15 Danilo Pereira during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg


For Real Sociedad to qualify they must win the UCL this season, as they are not in the running to qualify through the ranking pathway. They will look to overcome a 2-0 deficit when they host PSG on 5 March. Both Club Atlético de Madrid and Barcelona can still qualify via both pathways. Atlético are in the box seat and could seal their spot if results go their way. If Barcelona and Real Sociedad are both eliminated in the Round of 16, then Atlético – who will face Inter on 13 March following their 1-0 loss in Milan on 20 February – will qualify for the Mundial de Clubes FIFA. As for Barcelona, they must reach the semi-finals of the UCL while hoping that Atlético and Real Sociedad stumble. The Blaugrana will host Napoli on 12 March after a 1-1 draw in Italy on 21 February.

Hirving Lozano of PSV Eindhoven is tackled by Julian Ryerson of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 first leg match between PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund


BV Borussia 09 Dortmund and Rasen Ballsport Leipzig are the two clubs in the running to join the already qualified (based on ranking) Bayern as Germany’s representatives at the Mundial de Clubes FIFA. Leipzig – who travel to Spain on 6 March following their 1-0 home loss against Real Madrid – must reach at least the semi-finals of the UCL to have a chance of overhauling Dortmund, who host PSV on 13 March after a 1-1 draw in first leg. Any other outcome will result in Dortmund taking the spot.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v Ulsan Hyundai - AFC Champions League Quarter Final

Asia (AFC)

Jeonbuk Motors (KOR), Ulsan HD FC (KOR) and Al Nassr (KSA) are the three clubs still in the running to qualify via rankings, with all three also having a chance to qualify as ACL winners, which is currently at the quarter-final stage. Jeonbuk take on Ulsan in an all-Korea Republic quarter-final (on 5 and 12 March), with Jeonbuk slightly ahead of Ulsan in the rankings – meaning they will secure qualification by winning this tie. For Ulsan to qualify, they will need to defeat Jeonbuk in this tie, and will likely need to score points in the semi-final, too. Alternatively, if Al Hilal – who face Al Ittihad FC on 5 and 12 March – win this edition of the ACL, then that would open up an additional rankings spot in Asia, which would allow both sides to potentially go through. While it is mathematically possible for Al Nassr to qualify via rankings, they are relying on Al Hilal winning the ACL to open up a second ranking spot, Jeonbuk preventing Ulsan from progressing, and then claiming enough points themselves to overtake Ulsan. Al Nassr – who meet Al Ain (UAE) on 4 and 11 March – could also potentially grab second spot in the rankings if Ulsan eliminate Jeonbuk with minimum points before being eliminated in the semi-finals. Al Nassr would then need to earn enough points to exceed Ulsan’s total.

Al Fayha v Al Nassr - AFC Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

Further permutations across all six confederations can be found below.

The Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ (FIFA Club World Cup 2025™) Confederations ranking, including the nineteen clubs already qualified, can be viewed here.