Friday 21 January 2022, 16:00

The upsets that shook the Club World Cup

  • We recall some of the biggest shocks in FIFA Club World Cup™ history

  • Clubs from Africa, Asia, North America, Oceania and South America have provided them

  • Their victims include Real Madrid, Liverpool, Barcelona and Chelsea

Real Madrid 1-1 Necaxa (3:4 PSO)

Brazil 2000 Iker Casillas, Fernando Hierro, Roberto Carlos, Fernando Redondo, Raul, Fernando Morientes, Samuel Eto’o and Nicolas Anelka were the marginal favourites to conquer the maiden Club World Cup. After they were pipped to a final place by Corinthians on goal difference, they were the overwhelming favourites to bag bronze. When Raul put them ahead that medal was seemingly in their suitcase for Madrid.

Then a sublime Alex Aguinaga through-ball split the Madrid defence, and fellow Ecuadorian ‘Tin’ Delgado raced on to it and took his equaliser brilliantly to send the contest to penalties. Necaxa found themselves behind in the shootout, but rallied to win 4-3 and complete an utterly miserable campaign for the Europeans. Quote “Aguinaga was brilliant against Manchester United but he missed a penalty and felt really bad. He said at that moment he was going to make it up to us and he was exceptional. He would get in the Real Madrid side. You all saw that. Forget Edilson or Edmundo, Aguinaga was the best player at the world championship.” Agustin Delgado

Necaxa players with their bronze medals at Brazil 2000

Sao Paulo 1-0 Liverpool

Japan 2005 If it was a minor miracle defensive midfielder Mineiro would emerge as the only marksman, Rogerio Ceni’s performance was a major one. The goalkeeper repeatedly frustrated Steven Gerrard, Fernado Morientes and Co as Sao Paulo, Intercontinental Cup winners in 1992 and 193, became the first club in history to win three world titles in their first three attempts. Quote “He's got a reputation for scoring goals, but he's one of the best goalkeepers I've ever seen.” Steven Gerrard

Internacional 1-0 Barcelona

Japan 2006 Manchester United, Real Madrid and Liverpool may have failed, but nobody thought for a second that a Barcelona squad featuring Carles Puyol, Lilian Thuram, Xavi, Deco, Andres Iniesta and Ronaldinho would slip up, especially after they thrashed America 4-0 in the semi-finals in the hitherto biggest victory in the tournament’s history. They couldn’t find a way past the infallible Clemer, however, and from a glorious counter-attack, Iarley cannily set up substitute Adriano Gabiru for a late winner merely 13 seconds after the ball was almost on the Inter goal-line. Quote “Deco, Ronaldinho are magnificent, but so is Iarley and he was better than everyone at this tournament.” Fernandao

TP Mazembe 2-0 Internacional

UAE 2010 Nobody foresaw seeing Robert Kidiaba’s renowned donkey ride celebration in Abu Dhabi. It was on show, however, as the Congolese outfit pulled off a huge upset in the quarter-finals and a humungous one in the semis. The goalkeeper was exceptional, while marvellous goals from Patou Kabangu and Dioko Kaluyituka made Mazembe the first team from outside Europe or South America to reach the Club World Cup final. Quote “Nobody knew us. They didn’t give us a chance of beating the Mexicans, yet alone these Brazilian giants. They know us now. This is a historic day for our club and our nation.” Robert Kidiaba

TP Mazembe players celebrate victory over Internacional

Corinthians 1-0 Chelsea

Japan 2012 Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres and Co would have little trouble, they said, delivering a sixth successive Club World Cup crown to Europe. Instead, they found Paulo Andre, Chicao, Paulinho, Danilo and especially goalkeeper Cassio in imperious form. Quote “I still get emotional thinking about it. The airport when we were flying out to Japan, it was crazy, unbelievable. Then when we played the whole stadium was black and white. The noise was deafening. There’s no words to describe the support we received.” Cassio

Raja Casablanca 3-1 Atletico Mineiro

Morocco 2013 “2006 still hurts,” said the immortal Ronaldinho. “I want to get my hands on this trophy in Morocco.” Atletico Mineiro fans travelled to Marrakesh en masse, but despite seeing their hero score a sublime free-kick, goals from Mouhcine Iajour, Mouhcine Moutouali and Vianney Mabide made Raja the first host team to reach the final since Corinthians and Vasco da Gama 13 years earlier. Quote “This is the happiest day of my life. I played against Ronaldinho and I got his headband. I asked him if I could have it and he looked surprised, but he gave it to me anyway. He was so nice. I celebrated [getting the headband] like I’d saved a penalty in a final!” Khalid Askri

Cruz Azul 1-1 Auckland City (2-4 PSO)

Morocco 2014 The Kiwi amateurs – Ramon Tribulietx’s squad included a zoology student, lawyer, electrician, shop assistant and truck driver – shook football by eliminating hosts Moghreb Tetouan and African champions ES Setif, before putting up an incredible showing in a 2-1 extra-time loss to River Plate in the semi-finals. Auckland then overcame Mexican heavyweights Cruz Azul to astonishingly finish third, with Ivan Vicelich bagging the tournament’s adidas Bronze Ball behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. “I can’t tell you how proud I am. In each of our games, at times it looked like we were the professionals playing against amateurs. Third place is spectacular.” Ramon Tribulietx

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid receives the adidas Silver Ball, Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid receives the adidas Golden Ball and Ivan Vicelich of Auckland City FC revceives the adidas Bronze Ball

River Plate 2-2 Al Ain (4-5 PSO)

UAE 2018 In a clash drenched in drama, the Emirati underdogs took a third-minute lead, were behind with 16 on the clock, had a penalty ruled out and a goal disallowed all before half-time. An excellent Caio goal equalised thereafter and after River missed a penalty, it went down to penalties. Al Ain successfully converted their first five spot-kicks, before Khalid Eisa make a fine save to deny FIFA World Cup™ runner-up Enzo Perez and book his side a final date with Real Madrid. Quote “Perhaps it’s something that an Emirati must say, but I’ve been in this country for a few years and I think that maybe we could be looking at the greatest ever football success from this country.” Zoran Mamic