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Posted by Isaiah Cambron on 12/17/2011

A question such as this—whether a particular tournament is meaningful—is often extremely subjective. Ask pretty much anyone outside of eastern Spain if the Copa Catalunya is important and they’ll ask what that is before shaking their head. I’ve compared the Europa League to the American college basketball second-tier National Invitational Tournament (NIT); the Intertoto Cup stopped existing in 2008, but you probably noticed right now when you read those words.

The FIFA Club World Cup, a yearly tournament since 2005 (there was a 2000 version as well) is the new incarnation of the Intercontinental Cup created in 1960. That tournament was hosted in Japan from 1980 until its assimilation into the FIFA brand after its 2004 edition (prior to 1980 there was a home-and-home format). Not everyone in Europe cared a massive amount about that tournament either and the trophy tally shows that: South America won 22 times to Europe’s 21. South American teams won the first 3 Club World Cups, but the 4 since then have all been won by European teams.

Given Barcelona’s lineup in the 2006 final, it would be insulting to the South American teams to suggest the Europeans weren’t taking it seriously, but there simply wasn’t the same kind of pressure to win everything. European teams are trying to capture foreign audiences and this is one tournament that can help them do that while also putting up a trophy for the fans at home and, in Barcelona’s case, the current president.

Now that Barça has gotten a taste of victory in the tournament, it has become something that the fans want to repeat: “if we win this, we’re world champions.” But given the tournament’s format, which puts the South American and European champions into the semifinals while forcing all the other teams to play at least one match prior to that round, it’s hardly the fairest of competitions. It’s set up so that the biggest clubs face off in the final. Only once so far has a team from outside those two federations (CONMEBOL and UEFA) made it: last year’s surprise finalists TP Mazembe, a Congolese team who is best known for their goalie’s celebrations.

A tournament that is not particularly challenging is also not brag worthy. I once won a ping pong tournament at my parents’ church, which is great for me, but only 3 others had entered and they didn’t really know how to play. Wasn’t really worth mentioning to my friends later. Much better was the ping pong tournament at my high school where I came in 2nd. There was actual competition and it meant something even if I didn’t win it. Though obviously my opponent in the final cheated and should have been sent off for that slide tackle in the first half.

In the end, the Club World Cup is a fun way to show off the talents of the entire world. Watching Mazembe last year and Estudiantes the year before were enjoyable experiences for someone that doesn’t often get to see African or even South American football. This year featured Tunisia’s Esperance, Qatar’s Al-Sadd, surprising semifinalists Kashiwa Reysol, Mexico’s Monterrey, and Australia New Zealand’s Auckland City. Those teams combined to produce some quality football, but eventually fell to tougher opponents and the final now features what most people wanted to see at the start: Santos-Barça.

No matter what happens, this will not be an important victory in any real sense.

This post has been updated to correct the error that Auckland is, of course, in New Zealand and not Australia as previously written. Kudos to the reader who spotted it.


Posted by Anonymous on 12/18/2011

"Australia's" Auckland City?
Oh my. You mean the side from Auckland, New Zealand?

Or is this just Aussies doing what we do best, stealing the best achieving Kiwis?

Posted by Joe on 12/18/2011

Stupid post. Waste of time. Shallow.

Posted by omaid on 12/18/2011

LLllove messi

Posted by messidona1 on 12/18/2011

this writer is very absurd!!

Posted by Akinyemi taiwo on 12/19/2011

I love how barcelona play their macths dat is my best culb

Posted by listenhere on 12/19/2011

both barca and santos took it very seriously. trust me if santos would have won it would have been bragging rights for years to come. Based off of this game it seems people around the world were making it huge, messi vs. neymar, europe vs. SA, and a chance for a Santos team to dethrone the so called best team ever. We the fans thought it was huge and i think the attendance and viewers proved that. i'm sorry if you didn't, but you don't speak for what I think is the majority...

Posted by Bikram on 12/19/2011

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Posted by troll police on 12/21/2011

i hate troooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooools

Posted by GIDEON on 12/21/2011

ENVY OR NEGATIVE JEALOUSY IS PACKAGED AND TRANSMITTED BY WRITERS OF ARTICLES LIKE THIS.just see how biased and myopic short sigthed article meant to discredit a turnament and why this article when manchester united won it in 2008,or when barca(Rikaard) lost in 2006.
If santos had won,it would have been 'NEYMAR BETTER THAN MESSI'and you would have seen pele jumping up to write off messi.But now when messi has just silence his critics comparing him to neymar,Isaih cambron now remember that the tournament is unjust.
STEVE COHEN in also analyse how Madrid will beat barca,and tipped mourinho to win The classicco but was shell shocked when barca take the so called 'jose'real madrid apart in front of their own fans,THIS TIME,NO RED CARD OR 10 VS 11 THEORY OR PENALTY OR UNFAIR REFFEREING OR UEFA OR SPANISH FA SURPORTING BARCA,BUT THE CULPRIT THAT WAS BLAMED WAS ''LUCK''.maybe 22 second early goal was not a luck i cant decode what they are talking about?.virus write up.

Posted by progress ogbon on 12/23/2011

i don't know why Jose Mourinho is so jearlous of barca?

Posted by JoeTheHoe on 12/26/2011

Because he was supposed to coach Barça instead of Pep. Now he's in the shadow with Madrid and even the best coach can't make a lesser team beat Barça (except on off-days). Moreover, he can never join Barça now and the whole situation stops him from reaching the very summit of his careeer.

Posted by lavi on 12/26/2011

m from FIJI...maybe most dont know where this place is but....BARCA is in my soul n blood.....these smaal things dont deter BARCA.....we are more than a club.......

Posted by lavi on 12/26/2011

its hell ya important to us.....we the fans love every lil thing this BARCA does.....

Posted by Graizmarcell on 12/28/2011

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Posted by Lassie on 12/29/2011

I like barca is my dream team one day wana be the best player in barca like my favourite Leo Messi

Posted by Lazarus Lassie K on 12/29/2011

Hi Pep .G IF u need the best Forward just like Leo Messi or Neymar and Samuel Eto is me Lassie From poor country but remember ther soccer never be poor or Rich i am the last Bullet on 80minutes don`t live me call this number (0813662797)for more information Call me for try only 1 month bass complete with BArca player this my dream let happen plz Pep.G SEND FOR ME TO BARCA COACH PEP.G PLEASE

Posted by Toni Boy 23 on 12/31/2011


Posted by Maverick on 01/18/2012

I much prefer informative articles like this to that high brow lietarture.

Posted by dkc on 04/22/2012

barca rocks!!!!

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Francesc Tomas Hola! I am Francesc Tomas. Barcelona is my passion and home-town team. I consider myself lucky to have regularly attended matches at the Camp Nou since the early 1980s. My cousin played for the Barça youth academy, sharing the team with Don Andres Iniesta, which gave me a clear inside view of how our club works behind the scenes. I am also the founder, editor and columnist at

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