FIFA Club World Cup 2013: Complete Preview for Final Day of Tournament

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FIFA Club World Cup 2013: Complete Preview for Final Day of Tournament
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Which club will be the best in the world? That question will be answered on Saturday, when Bayern Munich and Raja Casablanca play in the final of the 2013 Club World Cup.

Although the idea of the tournament is to feature the best team in each region, many European supporters consider the Club World Cup a significant downgrade from the Champions League and the various domestic leagues.

Despite that, it's always fun to watch how the rest of the world stacks up with the European elite. In this case, fans will see whether or not the hosts, Raja Casablanca, can complete what has been an improbable run to the final. Should they beat Bayern Munich, there's no doubt the Moroccan champions will have earned the Club World Cup title.

That isn't the only action on Friday, with the third-place match between Atletico Mineiro and Guangzhou Evergrande also taking place.

Here's a quick look at both matches.

 

Third-Place Match: Guangzhou Evergrande vs. Atletico Mineiro

When: Saturday, Dec. 21, at 11:30 a.m. ET; 4:30 p.m. GMT

Watch: Fox Sports 2 (US)

Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go (US)

 

Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Preview

Let's all take a moment to soak in that Ronaldinho free kick from earlier in the tournament.

via B/R UK

That goal pulled Atletico Mineiro level against Raja Casablanca in the semifinal. The Brazilian side lost 3-1, but that was a glorious golazo nonetheless. It's good to know that despite all of his ups and downs recently, Ronaldinho remains capable of something like that.

This game features a nice contrast between the two clubs, per FIFA.com:

Cuca will coach Atletico for the last time after two-and-a-half years at the helm. He overcame tough times before building a winning team that made history by conquering the club’s first Copa Libertadores. Curiously, the Brazilian is leaving to coach one of Guangzhou’s traditional rivals in China, Shandong Luneng.

[...]

Going in the opposite direction is (Dario) Conca, who leaves China to return to Brazil and Fluminense. In two-and-a-half years in Asia, the Argentinian helped turn Guangzhou into a domestic powerhouse, winning three national championships and being voted the best player in China in 2013.

Dario Conca made waves when he went to China in 2011, immediately becoming one of the highest-paid footballers in the world. He's helped to bring plenty of silverware to Guangzhou, so it would be appropriate for Conca to go out on top.

Of course, the same could be said of Cuca. The job he did in winning the Copa Libertadores was nothing short of marvelous. Atletico Mineiro aren't the most talented team in South America, but under Cuca's stewardship, they reigned supreme in 2013.

Will it be Cuca or Conca who receives the storybook ending?

 

Final: Bayern Munich vs. Raja Casablanca

When: Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2:30 p.m. ET; 7:30 p.m. GMT

Watch: Fox Sports 2 (US)

Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go (US)

 

Lars Baron/Getty Images

Preview

Pep Guardiola looks to win his second trophy since arriving at Bayern Munich in the summer, and the German side is on the cusp of winning its first ever Club World Cup.

The reigning European champions came into the tournament as the heavy favorites, so everything has gone according to plan so far.

Bayern made quick work of Guangzhou Evergrande in the semifinal, scoring three goals in the space of seven minutes on the pitch.

Some may have wondered if Bayern would mail this tournament in, as it's lightly regarded among many European clubs. Following the win over Guangzhou, Guardiola made it a point to establish Bayern were there to win, per FIFA.com:

I’m very pleased for my players and the club and hope we can win the title on Saturday. This final is a unique opportunity to claim this prestigious title and become the best team in the world.

Raja Casablanca have been the giant killers. The hosts knocked off Monterrey in the quarterfinals and then Atletico Mineiro in the semifinals. As a neutral, you love seeing the plucky underdog upsetting the natural order, so it's a pleasure to see the Moroccan champs going toe-to-toe with the best in the world and holding their own.

Might Raja Casablanca have a little more magic left up their sleeves?

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