The end of the year for most sees a nasty turn in weather as temperatures plummet near zero, not conditions entirely favourable for most players around the country. Chelsea however will be swapping this inconvenience for a 10 day break in Japan, a country not exactly blazing in heat this time of year, but the new culture and experiences offered in a new land will certainly be more than welcome to the boys in blue.
A break however is not the reason for Chelsea’s exploits halfway around the world. Winning the Champions League in May meant that for the first time, Chelsea will be the team representing Europe in this year’s edition of the FIFA World Club Cup.
FIFA’s World Club Cup consists of seven teams who are the current champions in their respective continental confederations. Chelsea, alongside South American giants Corinthians, will enter the tournament in the semi-final stage. The champions of Europe will play the winner of the match between CONCACAF 2011-2012 Champions League winners Monterrey of Mexico, and the AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai from Japan.
The tournament runs from December 6 through to December 16, with the final being played in the International Stadium Yokohama, a ground with over 70,000 seats.
This edition of the competition will see the long awaited introduction of goal-line technology to assist officials during games, a decision that is sure to benefit the game if not immediately, then sometime in the near future.
To win this competition will be a massive achievement for the West Londoners. In England only Manchester United can boast this title in their trophy cabinet, and the current champions are the mighty Barcelona. It would be fair to say then that if Chelsea can enter the ranks inhabited by that prestigious pair, they would certainly have accomplished something worth talking about for years to come.
Roberto Di Matteo recently hit out at the Premier League for refusing to move the game Chelsea have on the December 8 at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland, claiming that the Blues will not have enough chance to acclimatise to the time difference and that his side will suffer accordingly. Di Matteo evidently believes the FA should do whatever they can to assist Chelsea in preparation for the competition, as the positive light it would shine on English football is in everyone’s interest.
The decision by the FA however was made to the annoyance of the Chelsea boss and he will have to deal with the situation he finds himself in, which is playing their opening game of the competition only five days after their trip to Sunderland.
Chelsea, with their new look side, have been part of exciting games in Europe already this season, and the tests they will face from teams all around the world will be tougher than maybe first thought. Should Chelsea return with the trophy they would not have only conquered Europe, they would have conquered the world.
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