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Al Ittihad Avoids Man City in Club World Cup Semis

Al Ittihad Avoids Man City in Club World Cup Semis

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Al-Ittihad, the champions of Saudi Arabia, and their standout striker Karim Benzema managed to avoid facing Manchester City in the semifinal draw for the first FIFA Club World Cup to be hosted by Saudi Arabia. This draw sets the stage for intriguing matchups as the tournament unfolds.

The FIFA Club World Cup is scheduled to take place from December 12 to 22, featuring continental champions and the league winner from the host nation. The tournament will be held in Jeddah, the home city of Al-Ittihad.

This edition of the Club World Cup will be the last one in the current annual format before transitioning to a 32-team version played every four years, starting in June 2025. The United States is set to host the inaugural edition of this new format.

Al-Ittihad will begin the tournament by facing Auckland City, who are the champions of Oceania. The winners of this match will progress to the second round, where they will compete against African champions Al-Ahly from Egypt. The victor of that match will earn a spot in the semifinals, where they will face the champions of South America.


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Currently, the Copa Libertadores is in the semifinals stage, featuring clubs such as Boca Juniors from Argentina and Brazilian teams Palmeiras, Fluminense, and Internacional. The outcome of these matches will determine the South American champion who will participate in the FIFA Club World Cup.

As the European champion, Manchester City has secured direct entry to the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup. They will face the winner of the match between Club León of Mexico and Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan.

The final match, scheduled for December 22nd, will be held at the King Abdullah Sports City, which has a capacity of 62,000 and is the home stadium of Al-Ittihad.

The draw for the tournament was conducted by Jaime Yarza, the director of FIFA Tournaments, and was assisted by former footballer Yaya Toure, who won a memorable and dramatic final with Barcelona in 2009, and Manaf Abushugair, a two-time AFC Champions League winner with Al-Ittihad.

The draw ceremony for the FIFA Club World Cup was attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Yasser Al-Misehal, the leader of the Saudi soccer federation, who is also a member of the FIFA Council. Their presence highlights the importance of the tournament and its significance in the world of football.

The presenting sponsor for the FIFA Club World Cup is Visit Saudi, the tourism board of Saudi Arabia. It’s worth noting that Visit Saudi faced resistance as a sponsor for the Women’s World Cup this year from co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, highlighting discussions and debates within the world of sports sponsorship and its connections to various social and political issues.

During his welcoming speech, Al-Misehal said: “We are prepared and excited to welcome the world to Jeddah in December, we are honored that Jeddah is hosting this world-renowned tournament.

He continued: “This tournament will be an extraordinary celebration of professional football, international talent and best-in-class skill, showcasing the great facilities, hospitality and unique culture of Saudi Arabia as a world-class sporting destination.”

Benzema, who came to the ceremony wearing the Saudi thobe, added: “I have played in the FIFA Club World Cup with Real Madrid and I have the experience to help my team.”


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