Monday 22 April 2024, 10:45

Pursuit of Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ place hots up for Concacaf trio

  • Columbus Crew and Mexican duo América and Pachuca can still qualify for Mundial de Clubes 25™

  • All three feature in Concacaf Champions Cup semi-final first legs this week

  • Final Asian and African qualifiers could be decided in coming days

Columbus Crew (USA), Club América (MEX) and CF Pachuca (MEX) continue their quest to qualify for the inaugural Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ (FIFA Club World Cup 2025™) this week as they head into their Concacaf Champions Cup semi-final first legs, while the final qualifiers from Asia and Africa could be decided.


CF Monterrey (MEX) make up the final four in this season’s continental competition, but by virtue of being 2021 champions, they have already secured their place at next year’s 32-team tournament in the United States. To join them, the equation for the other three semi-finalists is simple, though the task is far from easy: they have to win the Concacaf Champions Cup this season. Given there is a two clubs per country limit, and that Monterrey and Club Léon (MEX) have already qualified as champions, there is no opportunity for América or Pachuca to qualify via the ranking pathway. The country limit does not apply to continental champions, however, so either of the pair will qualify if they lift the trophy this season, which adds extra spice to Tuesday’s first leg at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Alejandro Zendejas (C) of America celebrates

The same goes for Columbus Crew, even if fellow MLS outfit Seattle Sounders FC (USA) are the only American club already assured of their place. The Crew’s difficulty comes in that they cannot make up the points gap in the ranking pathway to another MLS side, Philadelphia Union (USA), who are the highest-ranked non-Mexican team. With only four places available to Concacaf teams, the Crew need to get past Monterrey and lift the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. For the Union to qualify, they need Monterrey, who travel to Columbus for Wednesday’s first leg, to knock the Crew out and then go on to win a sixth continental crown. That will open a Mundial de Clubes 25 qualifying place via the ranking pathway which only the Union can claim.


Al Ain (UAE) have put themselves in a strong position to progress to the AFC Champions League final and kept their hopes of reaching the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 on the boil with a 4-2 semi-final first-leg win over Al Hilal (KSA). The duo meet again in Riyadh for the second leg on Tuesday with Al Ain knowing they need to go through and then win the continental title for only the second time in the club’s history to qualify for the Mundial de Clubes 25.

Al Ain's Paraguayan midfielder #10 Kaku celebrates

As 2021 Asian champions, Al Hilal already have their ticket for the USA. If they win a fifth title this year, they would open up a second qualifying spot from the ranking pathway: Jeonbuk Motors (KOR) would be the happy beneficiaries. Now ahead of Jeonbuk Motors in the ranking are the team that knocked them out of this season’s AFC Champions League in the quarter-finals, fellow Korean outfit Ulsan HD FC (KOR). They go into Wednesday’s semi-final second leg against Yokohama F. Marinos (JPN) 1-0 up on aggregate. That first-leg win guaranteed them a place via the ranking pathway at the Mundial de Clubes 25 whatever happens in the rest of the competition. Yokohama can still join them at the tournament, but need to become Asian champions for the first time in the club’s history to do so. If Yokohama and Al Ain reach the final, Jeonbuk would be eliminated, as either of the finalists would take the final FIFA Club World Cup 2025 qualifying place by winning the competition. Should Ulsan and Al Hilal make the final, as they both already have their Mundial de Clubes 25 places secured, Jeonbuk would be through too.


ES Tunis (TUN) have closed the gap on CAF Champions League semi-final opponents Mamelodi Sundowns FC (RSA) to five points in the Mundial de Clubes 25 ranking after a 1-0 win at home to the South Africans in Saturday’s first leg. Should the Tunisians win Friday’s second leg too, they would overtake Mamelodi and secure the one guaranteed spot available to an African team at the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 via the rankings pathway. Conversely, if Mamelodi win the second leg, even if it is insufficient to take them through to the final, they will be guaranteed a place at the global tournament.

Esperance's Brazilian forward #10 Yan Sasse vies for the ball with Sundown's Chilean forward #11 Marcelo Allende

Both teams will qualify for the FIFA Mundial de Clubes 25 regardless of the result of the second leg if Al Ahly SC (EGY), who have already qualified as the current African champions, eliminate TP Mazembe (COD) in the other semi-final. That would open two qualifying places via the rankings pathway. The pair head into Friday’s second leg all square after Saturday’s first leg in Lubumbashi ended goalless. TP Mazembe need to win the competition to qualify and deny either ES Tunis or Mamelodi Sundowns a place in the USA next year.

Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™