The 12th FIFA Club World Cup has been won in Japan by Brazilian club, Corinthians after beating 10 man Chelsea 1-0.
Both sides cancelled each other out throughout in a typically cautious cup final, with the affects of jet lag possibly appearing to seep in, before an exciting climax.
2012 Copa Libertadores champions, Corinthians, took their chance. After nice build up play, the Brazilians created a chance for Danillo to have a shot which was blocked before Peruvian, Paolo Guerrero beat the Chelsea defense to the ball to score despite players on the line. The defending was almost comical with 3 blue shirts attempting to block a shot on the line, rather than attack the ball.
European champions, Chelsea pushed on in the dying minutes but failed to find the back of net, other than an offside header by Fernando Torres.
Chelsea’s poor performance was rounded off in the last minute after a red card for center-back Gary Cahill. Cahill is believed to have lashed out at a Corinthians player, but no replay has been shown yet – sparking confusion world wide.
Cahill will now miss Wednesday’s League cup Quarter final at Leeds United, with FIFA Disciplinary Code Rule 38.2.D stating the suspension “Carries over to the club’s next official match”.
The Turkish referee held out with no cards until the 60th minute, despite several ridiculous challenges from both sides.
Chelsea’s best chance to save theirhopes though came with 5 minutes to go, when the ball dropped to £50m record signing, Torres. The 28 year old failed to avoid hitting the keeper, in what was quite simply a brilliant chance for a man who should be taking them with ease. But once again the question marks surround the Spaniard, with his ability of being a clinical goal scorer wavering.
For Corinthians it is a repeat of their success in the tournament in 2000 and is the first time a Brazilian side have become “champions of the world” since Internacional beat Barcelona in 2006.
It marks the highest point in Adenor Leonardo Bacchi’s (a.k.a Tite) time at the club, since arriving in 2010. For everyone in Brazil, this competition is up there as one of the highest possible achievements – much like the Olympics, the view is different through Europe.
European Champions, Chelsea named a different side to the one that put up an impressive display vs Monterrey in the semi-final. David Luiz was moved back into central defense, with Frank Lampard, 34, captaining the side on his return to the starting 11.
The first example of football life with goal line technology came in the first half. Chelsea’s Cahill had a superb chance saved on the line, with the usual appeals from one side non-existent, with the “goal ref” system in place, it wasn’t quite the testing of it we were waiting for.
But, it was the Brazilian side who hung on. Despite late surges from Chelsea’s Oscar and sub right back Azpilicueta.
Corinthian’s keeper Cássio Ramos won the Man of the Match award (which was a massive gold car key…), and pulled off a stunning save to deny Blues winger, Victor Moses in the first half.
The competitions value in England was questioned before the game, and Chelsea never really looked like they wanted it as much as the Brazilians until it was escaping from them at the end. It’s hard to argue that Corinthians didn’t deserve it with Chelsea looking poor throughout.
For Chelsea’ new interim manager, Rafael Benitez, the already tough pressure from his new fans won’t ease following this dismal display. Chelsea never really got going, and failed to recreate what was shown in the semi-final.
There was confusion over his team selection, with young Brazilian Oscar left out, and David Luiz pushed back into defense. The changes appeared to take away the spark and cutting edge that was seen before.
The 4-2-3-1 formation didn’t look natural, with the more ‘box to box’ midfielder, Ramirez playing a holding midfield role.
Captain for the day, Frank Lampard spoke after the game, describing the tournament in good light;
“Today was what it’s all about.. but we have to now try keep pushing on in everything.”
Questions will be raised from the 700 travelling Chelsea fans regarding how much Chelsea wanted to win, but tears from the likes of David Luiz at the end suggest it was higher than the general British public feel. It did look very important and painful to them post-game, but during the case didn’t appear to quite be the same. Maybe if the Brazilian Chelsea boys, Oscar, Luiz and Azpilicueta has started more passion would have been vissible.
Credit must go to the now, World Champions, Corinthians. It wasn’t the flair we’d expect from a Brazilian side, but they made themselves a tough side to break down and when the chance came, they took it.
For Chelsea, it’s now a return to English football, and a League cup quarter final away at Leeds United. Back to earth.
By Stowe Gregory @stowegregory