The FIFA Membership International Cup kicks off in Qatar on Wednesday (Survive RTÉ Participant) when the 2 outsiders Al-Sadd and Hienghene meet in a standalone play-off to growth to the quarter-finals.

The winners of that tie will face Monterrey, with Al-Hilal and ES Tunis assembly within the different last-eight fit.

The glamour two, Flamengo and Liverpool, are dropped into the semi-finals, and can not meet till the decider, must they each make it that some distance.

Flamengo beat the Reds again in 1981 – their enthusiasts nonetheless sing about that Zico-inspired 3-Zero win now – and they’re gunning for a crack at Jurgen Klopp’s Eu Cup holders. 

Prior to we will entertain that risk, the fewer acquainted names do struggle. We solid our eye over the golf equipment competing for this yr’s trophy. 


Al-Sadd are the reigning Qatar Stars League champions however they earn their position on the pageant as representatives of the host country. That they had a excellent run within the Asian Champions League, shedding within the semis towards Al-Hilal, who went on to boost the trophy.

Additionally they occur to be controlled by means of Barcelona legend Xavi, who performed for the membership for 4 years earlier than being named boss again in Would possibly. Within the fickle international of soccer, reputations are temporarily forgotten. Xavi has had a rocky spell in rate and used to be booed by means of his personal enthusiasts all over a loss to Qatar SC final month. A good appearing right here would move an extended strategy to smoothing issues over.


All of the approach from the Pacific Island French territory of New Caledonia, it is Hienghene Recreation!  They play within the New Caledonia Tremendous Ligue and are available right here off the again of their Oceania Membership Championship triumph. Hienghene are simply the second one Oceanian membership from out of doors Australia and New Zealand to compete on this pageant – after Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United in 2010.

They face Al-Sadd first up, after which Mexico’s Monterrey. Win that one and those plucky underdogs, simplest shaped in 1997, gets a swing at Liverpool.


The winners of the Asian Champions League start their match on the quarter-final level. The Saudi Arabians are spearheaded by means of former Swansea Town striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who is been in flying shape.

“Al Hilal are one of the most perfect golf equipment in Asia and they have given me all their love and recognize,” he informed “While you enjoy an environment like this at any membership, you do the entirety you’ll be able to to assist them and ranking targets. That’s what I’ve achieved with each and every membership I’ve performed for right through my occupation. With Al Hilal, I’m simply making an attempt to make use of my soccer enjoy and talents to assist the crew.” 


Certainly one of Africa’s maximum a hit golf equipment, the Tunisians lifted the CAF Champions League name to earn a price ticket to Qatar. They celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2019 and are again on the Membership International Cup for the second one yr operating.

Three hundred and sixty five days in the past they had been crushed 3-Zero by means of Al Ain of their first recreation. They’re made up our minds to place up a a lot better appearing this time round and are quietly assured of a minimum of making the semis.


The CONCACAF Champions League victors are at their fourth Membership International Cup, regardless that they have simplest were given previous the quarters as soon as, in 2012 after they misplaced to Chelsea within the final 4.

There is a little bit of attacking pedigree on this aspect. Vincent Janssen (above) spent 3 years at Spurs, Rodolfo Pizarro has been capped 25 occasions for Mexico and Argentinian Maximiliano Meza may be a complete global. They satisfaction themselves on their skill going ahead however are beautiful porous on the again so that you must get a couple of targets while you watch Monterrey, who shall be anticipated to make the semis the place Liverpool wait for.


As discussed, the Brazilians beat Liverpool in 1981 – and boy did they experience that. They dramatically beat River Plate 2-1 to win the Copa Libertadores this yr – thank you to 2 targets on the demise from Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa – and instantly set their attractions on scalping the Premier League giants.

After their improbable defeat of River Plate, Flamengo supervisor Jorge Jesus stated: “(In comparison to) the final Champions League last between Liverpool and Tottenham , this one had extra technical, tactical content material, and a a lot more gorgeous color than this last in Madrid, the place I noticed it reside. We will be able to be in Qatar to play towards Liverpool if they’re a finalist. We’ve a crew to win this trophy.” 

As for that chant, in English it more or less interprets as: 
In December of ’81
They gave the English the runaround
3-nil towards Liverpool
It went down in historical past
And Rio has no equivalent
Handiest Flamengo is International Champion
And now its other people
Ask for the sector once more
Come on, come on, come on, Mengo!


So this was one thing of a revenge venture for the Merseysiders. The six-time Eu Cup winners have by no means lifted the Membership International Cup and Klopp is bringing his most powerful conceivable squad to Qatar to tick this trophy off the listing. Twenty-four hours earlier than their semi-final, an absolutely other Liverpool panel shall be in Birmingham to play Aston Villa within the Carabao Cup quarter-final. Their loopy December time table has stretched the sources however they’re no doubt the favourites right here. 

Liverpool became down the danger to play in what used to be then referred to as the the Intercontinental Cup in 1977 and 1978. They misplaced to Flamengo in ’81, Independiente in ’84 and Sao Paulo in 2005. Is that this the yr they get it proper?


11 December
Al Sadd v Hienghene Recreation, 5.30pm

14 December 
Monterrey v Al Sadd/Hienghene, 5.30pm
Al-Hilal v Es Tunis, 2pm 

17 December
5th/positioned play-off: Loser of Monterrey v Al Sadd/Hienghene v Loser of Al-Hilal v Es Tunis, 2.30pm
Semi-final: Flamengo v Al-Hilal/Es Tunis, 5.30pm

18 December
 Liverpool v Monterrey/Al Sadd/Hienghene, 5.30pm

21 December
3rd position play-off, 2pm
Ultimate, 2pm

Watch the FIFA Membership International Cup at the RTÉ Participant from Wednesday 11 December 

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