Congratulations to Corinthians, first the champions of South America and now the holders of FIFA’s Club World Cup.
The Brazilian club claimed the trophy in the wee smalls, beating Chelsea in the tournament final from Japan in a match that finished well before most of America awoke on a sleepy Sunday morning.
In bettering Chelsea, 1-0, Corinthians demonstrated that they wanted this thing a little more. That’s hardly surprising; it’s a bigger deal in some parts of the world than in others. In Europe, FIFA’s Club World Cup holds little regard and, if we’re honest, even less brand value.
For South American teams it’s a chance to “play with the big boys,” to remind everyone that Europe may be where the money is in the global game, but they play some pretty decent soccer in South America, too, of course.
Sometimes, “want-to” isn’t enough, as with last year when Barcelona FC did to Santos what they do to so many – flummox the hapless and helpless foe with that wonderful passing and interchange. They kicked Santos, 4-0.
So while Sunday’s result may have provided a certain measure of revenge and re-validation, you do have to wonder about Chelsea’s motivation.
To that point, how to make the tournament a little bigger? How to make it something more of the world cares about and wants to check out?
First, it’s still fairly young, competed for on an annual basis only since 2005. History count for a lot, and this event does not have much.
Past that, they’ll need to move the even around a little more. Since it became an annual event, every tournament has been in Japan or United Arab Emirates. FIFA does have plans to add more sites to the rotation in the future. Expose an area to one tournament and they have a much better chance of connecting with it – and therefore caring enough to scan for the next one.
So diversifying the geography is a good thing; otherwise the FIFA Club World Cup will continue to come and go with barely a worldwide whisper.