Wednesday 22 May 2024, 21:00

Asian duo face off with Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ place at stake

  • Victory in AFC Champions League 2023/24 final will see Al Ain FC or Yokohama F. Marinos complete Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ line-up from Asia

  • River Plate’s recent qualification to the tournament in the United States next year could affect Boca Juniors’ hopes of joining them

  • Already qualified pair Al Ahly and Espérance Sportive de Tunis contest the CAF Champions League crown

Yokohama F. Marinos (JPN) and Al Ain FC (UAE) head into the second leg of the AFC Champions League 2023/24 final with one of them certain to clinch a Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ (FIFA Club World Cup 2025™) place at the final whistle.


Yokohama F. Marinos hold the edge in the race to secure the fourth and final spot reserved for this season’s Asian champions at the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 thanks to a 2-1 first-leg win over Al Ain in Japan. Whichever team emerges with the continental title – it would be the Japanese club’s first, Al Ain’s second – they will join Al Hilal (KSA, 2021 champions), Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN, 2022 champions) and Ulsan HD FC (KOR, qualified via the ranking pathway) as Asia’s representatives at the tournament in the United States next year.

South America

A win in their most recent CONMEBOL Libertadores group stage game saw Club Atlético River Plate (ARG) qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup 2025, joining the Brazilian trio of former champions CR Flamengo, Fluminense FC and SE Palmeiras, at next year’s tournament. They become the first Argentine qualifiers, and could still qualify as South American champions too having secured progress to the round of 16. However, as their place via the ranking pathway is already secured, and as only two teams per country can qualify excluding champions, that could have major implications for domestic rivals Club Atlético Boca Juniors (ARG).

Supporters of Boca Juniors cheer for their team

Not in this year’s CONMEBOL Libertadores, Boca are currently in the second qualifying position via the ranking pathway. However, if another of the Argentine clubs still in contention for the 2024 continental crown - Club Atlético Talleres, Club Atlético Rosario Central, Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro or Estudiantes de La Plata - were to lift the trophy, River would still qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 via the ranking pathway, and the ‘two clubs per country’ rule would mean Boca miss out regardless of their ranking.

With a maximum 34 points now available to non-champions – 12 by reaching the various knockout phase rounds, 22 in matches, those teams currently with 37 points or more can overtake Boca for the guaranteed second qualifying spot. All non-Brazilian active teams currently with 23 points or more can theoretically qualify via the ranking if Palmeiras, Flamengo, Fluminense or River Plate win the 2024 Libertadores and a second spot becomes available.


The four qualifying places have already been wrapped up with one of two of the clubs who will be in the US next year, Al Ahly SC (EGY) and Espérance Sportive de Tunis (TUN), heading there as reigning African champions as they face off in this year’s final.

Al Ahly's Egyptian midfielder #13 Marwan Attia fights for the ball with Esperance's Tunisian midfielder #25 Ghaylen Chaalali

Having won the CAF Champions League in 2020/21 and 2022/23, Al Ahly knew they already had their spot at the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 some time ago, while Espérance’s progress to the final meant a place – whatever the result of the final – via the ranking pathway. After drawing 0-0 in the first leg in Tunisia on 18 May, the duo meet again in the second leg in Cairo, Egypt, on 25 May.