Thursday, 20th December 2012
Club World Cup ends in victory for Corinthians
Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima may only have come fifth at the FIFA Club World Cup 2012 in Japan, but there was still a celebratory atmosphere around Yokohoma on Sunday as Corinthians were crowned champions of this year's installment.
The team representing South America faced Europe's Champions League winners Chelsea at the Yokohama International Stadium, and lifted the coveted trophy thanks to a Paolo Guerrero in the 69th minute, which proved to be the only goal of the match.
The 1-0 victory is a big statement of intent from the South American team as it is the first time that the continent has welcomed back the title from Europe since 2006.
While it may not have the wow-factor of the Champions League final or some of the biggest games in Europe's top leagues, it was clear that victory certainly meant a lot to both teams, with Corinthians over the moon as they lifted the cup.
The party didn't stop there for the new Club World Cup champions though. As Chelsea faced the prospect of a miserable flight back to London, the Brazilians had a double celebration on their hand, with goalkeeper Cassio being lifting the adidas Golden Ball and Toyota Award as player of the tournament. He was lauded in particular for keeping a clean sheet in the semi-final against Al Ahly, while also having a decisive impact for the Copa Libertadores holders in the final against the Blues.
There was some consolation for the west London boys though, as centre back David Luiz took home the Silver Ball, while the bronze prize went to former Bayern striker Guerrero in recognition of his decisive impact with two match-winning displays.
But while the focus was understandably with the foreign teams involved in the final on Sunday, Hiroshima were delighted they got the chance to mix it with some of the world's very best teams. Speaking to FIFA.com after the J League champions won 3-2 over Ulsan Hyundai, star striker Hisato Sato said: "I would really have liked to go through to the semi finals here, to tell you the truth. That said, it was still great to get the opportunity to play on a world stage like the Club World Cup and take on the Asian champions."
Written by Graham McPherson