One of the most prestigious club football events on the calendar will be held in Saudi Arabia in 2023. This year’s event was held in Morocco, as Real Madrid claimed a record-extending fifth victory in the event. The tournament is on the verge of wholesale changes, as the Club World Cup will be expanded to 32 teams in the coming years.
However, next year’s event will present a great opportunity for Saudi Arabia, as the nation becomes only the sixth host of the Club World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 2000.
Saudi Arabia Announced As Hosts
The Club World Cup is the latest of a growing list of events that are being held in Saudi Arabia, as the nation looks to continue its heavy investment into sporting events. This has led to claims of ‘sports washing’, as many claim that the nation is looking to host events to cover up shortcomings with human rights issues, highlighted by Amnesty International.
However, the event promises to be a popular one among bettors, with many likely to wager with the online football betting site on matches throughout the competition. An official decision regarding Saudi hosting the competition was made shortly after Real Madrid’s 5-3 win over Al-Hilal at the beginning of February.
Real Madrid Won Latest Edition
The latest edition of the Club World Cup was held in Morocco in February. Saudi Arabia also sponsored the event, which was won for the fifth time by Real Madrid. Chelsea was the defending champions heading into the event, but their hold on the competition was ended after they were eliminated from the Champions League in the 2021-22 season.
As Champions League holders, Real Madrid was awarded a spot in the competition this year, and they faced few issues in winning the event for the fifth time since 2000. Real Madrid claimed victory in the final by a 5-3 scoreline, with Vinicius Jr and Federico Valverde both scoring twice. Real looked assured in the semi-final stage too, as they managed to beat Egypt’s Al Ahly 4-1.
It was a historic moment for football in Saudi despite the defeat in the final, as Al-Hilal became the first club from the nation to reach the final of the Club World Cup. Flamengo eventually finished third in the competition, as they beat Al Ahly in the match for third. Pedro finished as the top scorer in the competition, as the forward netted four goals across his two appearances.
Who Will Play In the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup?
The 2023 FIFA Club World Cup will take place in Saudi Arabia in the middle of December. The tournament will get underway on December 12, before the club's world champions are crowned on December 22. Like most editions of the tournament, the reigning Champions League holders will likely be the favored team in the betting, and we will find out Europe’s representatives in June. The European Cup holders will enter the semi-final stage, alongside the winners of the 2023 Copa Libertadores.
Saudi Arabia will be represented by the winners of the Saudi Professional League, which could include Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr. The Saudi club will enter the competition in the first round, alongside the winners of the OFC Champions League.
Three teams enter the second round of the competition, including the AFC Champions League winners, as well as the winners of the CAF Champions League and CONCACAF Champions League. The teams that will make up the Club World Cup will be determined throughout 2023, beginning with the Saudi representative in May.
Conclusion- Likely Contenders
As is typically the case, the team that wins the Champions League will likely be the leading contender for glory in the Club World Cup. Manchester City is the current favorite to win the top prize in Europe this term, with Erling Haaland expected to be a key player in the second half of the season.
However, Real Madrid could yet play a key role once again in the competition this season. Liverpool, PSG, and Bayern Munich could be among the other heavyweights that have their sights set on winning the Champions League in 2023. The 2023 Club World Cup could also give Cristiano Ronaldo an opportunity to win a final major honor, but Al Nassr will face a fight to achieve that given that they enter in the first round.