FC Barcelona v Guangzhou Evergrande : match preview
River Plate lived up to all expectations and booked their long awaited ticket for Sunday’s Club World Cup Final with imposing a 1-0 defeat of Sanfrecce Hiroshima this Wednesday. Now it’s FC Barcelona‘s anticipated turn to do the same as they face Guangzhou Evergrande of China. The Catalans are looking forward to winning the coveted trophy for a record of third time since the new format was introduced ago.
FC Barcelona’s 23-man team includes the complete main team apart from Rafinha, plus B team players Samper and Gumbau as well. Striker Neymar is carrying a serious groin injury but has also travelled to Japan, as has his injured compatriot in Douglas.
The Guangzhou Evergrande squad has six Brazilians, including former Manchester City, Real Madrid and AC Milan striker Robinho, while Alan Carvalho (Red Bull Salzburg) and Paulinho (Tottenham) as well have European experience. All of the other members are Chinese, with the sole exception of the South Korean centre-back Kim Young-gwon.
FC Barcelona are taking part in the Club World Cup for the fifth time here, and the fourth after the new format was introduced. After losing to Sao Paolo (Brazil) unfortunately in the old Intercontinental Cup in 1992 and also to Internacional (Brazil) in 2006, Pep Guardiola managed the team to its first title against Estudiantes (Argentina) back in 2009 and then back again to a 4-0 defeat of Santos (Brazil) in the year 2011.
Barça have never faced a Chinese club in an official match, but they have played four preseason friendlies against many teams from the country, confidently winning all of them and scoring nineteen goals to boast with no reply in the process. And back in April 2005 the Catalans massacred the Chinese national team to a 6-0 in an exhibition match taking place at the Camp Nou.
Guangzhou Evergrande are participating in the Club World Cup for the second time here. Two years ago, when they were the very first Chinese club to play at this event, they also made it to the semi-finals by defeating Al-Ahly (Egypt) 2-0 in the quarter final round, but they were soundly defeated 3-0 by the eventual champions Bayern Munich.