Liverpool – Flamengo: Efficient Liverpool Eventually Outmuscle Brave Flamengo (1-0)
After an intense initial fifteen minutes, Flamengo managed to keep the ball and outshot a passive Liverpool throughout the first half. In the second half, a more intense Liverpool evened out the tables, with both teams trading direct attacks. However, Flamengo ultimately lost steam and failed to change the game state with their substitutions, and Liverpool took advantage of this during extra time.
Tactical analysis and match report by José Pérez.
It is hard not to feel that Europe does not take the Club World Cup seriously, with their fans often complaining about the poor quality of their opposition. Long gone are the days of the Intercontinental Cup, when results were evenly split between European and South American teams. After the 1995 Bosman ruling opened the floodgates for European superclubs to hire more talent from all over the world, the gap between European and South American clubs has grown ever wider. Since the Club World Cup started in its current format in 2005, Europeans have won it 80% of the time.
The timing of the tournament certainly does not help either, falling right in the middle of the season for European clubs. This scheduling problem forced Liverpool to essentially give up on the local Carabao Cup - fielding a youth team who were hammered by Aston Villa - while the first team headed to Qatar.
The vast majority of South American finalists—even the ones who have won—go into this game acknowledging their inferiority. They employ defensive approaches, fight from a trench and hope that a counterattack will get them the glory of victory over the European champion. This status quo explains why all of us who follow South American football were so . . .