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The 2018 FIFA Club World Cup (officially known as the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 presented by Alibaba Cloud for sponsorship reasons)[1] was the 15th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup, a FIFA-organised international club football tournament between the champion clubs from each of the six continental confederations, as well as the national league champion from the host country.[2] The tournament was hosted by the United Arab Emirates from 12 to 22 December 2018.[3][4]

2018 FIFA Club World Cup
FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018
presented by Alibaba Cloud
كأس العالم للأندية لكرة القدم
الإمارات العربية المتحدة 2018
2018 FIFA Club World Cup logo.png
Tournament details
Host countryUnited Arab Emirates
Dates12–22 December
Teams7 (from 6 confederations)
Venue(s)2 (in 2 host cities)
Final positions
ChampionsSpain Real Madrid (4th title)
Runners-upUnited Arab Emirates Al-Ain
Third placeArgentina River Plate
Fourth placeJapan Kashima Antlers
Tournament statistics
Matches played8
Goals scored33 (4.13 per match)
Attendance152,675 (19,084 per match)
Top scorer(s)Wales Gareth Bale
Colombia Rafael Santos Borré
(3 goals each)
Best player(s)Wales Gareth Bale
Fair play awardSpain Real Madrid

Real Madrid were the defending champions, having won the previous two editions, and qualified for the 2018 edition as well. They successfully defended their title (their third consecutive) after defeating Al-Ain 4–1 in the final. With the win, they broke the tie with Barcelona to become the outright record winners of the competition.


Host bidsEdit

The application process for the 2017–2018 as well as the 2015–2016 editions, i.e. two hosts, each hosting two years, began in February 2014.[5] Member associations interested in hosting must submit a declaration of interest by 30 March 2014, and provide the complete set of bidding documents by 25 August 2014.[6] The FIFA Executive Committee was to select the hosts at their meeting in Morocco in December 2014,[7] but the final decision was delayed until the FIFA Executive Committee meetings on 19–20 March 2015.[8]

The following countries expressed an interest in bidding to host the tournament:[9]

The United Arab Emirates was officially announced as hosts of the 2017 and 2018 tournaments on 21 March 2015.[3]

Qualified teamsEdit

The following teams qualified for the tournament.

Location of teams of the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup.
Team Confederation Qualification Qualified date Participation (bold indicates winners)
Enter in the semi-finals
  River Plate CONMEBOL Winners of the 2018 Copa Libertadores[10] 9 December 2018[note 1] 2nd (Previous: 2015)
  Real MadridTH UEFA Winners of the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League[11] 26 May 2018 5th (Previous: 2000, 2014, 2016, 2017)
Enter in the second round
  Kashima Antlers AFC Winners of the 2018 AFC Champions League[12] 10 November 2018 2nd (Previous: 2016)
  Espérance de Tunis CAF Winners of the 2018 CAF Champions League[13] 9 November 2018 2nd (Previous: 2011)
  Guadalajara CONCACAF Winners of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League[14] 25 April 2018 1st
Enter in the first round
  Team Wellington OFC Winners of the 2018 OFC Champions League[15] 20 May 2018 1st
  Al-Ain AFC (Hosts) Winners of the 2017–18 UAE Pro-League[16] 14 May 2018[note 2] 1st
  1. ^ The second leg of the Copa Libertadores Finals, originally scheduled on 24 November 2018, was postponed to 9 December 2018 due to an attack on the Boca Juniors team bus when several players were injured.
  2. ^ Al-Ain won the 2017–18 UAE Pro-League on 21 April 2018. Their participation in the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup was officially confirmed after Al-Jazira became the last team from UAE other than Al-Ain to be eliminated from the 2018 AFC Champions League. Al-Ain themselves were eliminated from the 2018 AFC Champions League on 15 May 2018, thereby confirming them entering the first round.


Match officialsEdit

A total of six referees, twelve assistant referees, and six video assistant referees were appointed for the tournament.[17][18] FIFA announced on 22 November 2018 that the trio of referees and assistant referees from CAF were changed.[19][20]

Confederation Referee Assistant referees Video assistant referee
AFC   Ryuji Sato   Toru Sagara
  Hiroshi Yamauchi
  Mohammed Abdulla Hassan Mohamed
CAF   Bamlak Tessema Weyesa   Zakhele Thusi Siwela
  Waleed Ahmed
CONCACAF   Jair Marrufo   Frank Anderson
  Corey Rockwell
  Mark Geiger
CONMEBOL   Wilton Sampaio   Rodrigo Figueiredo
  Bruno Boschilia
  Mauro Vigliano
OFC   Matthew Conger   Tevita Makasini
  Mark Rule
UEFA   Gianluca Rocchi   Elenito Di Liberatore
  Mauro Tonolini
  Paweł Gil
  Massimiliano Irrati
  Danny Makkelie


Each team had to name a 23-man squad (three of whom must be goalkeepers). Injury replacements were allowed until 24 hours before the team's first match.[2]


The draw of the tournament was held on 4 September 2018, 10:00 CEST (UTC+2), at the FIFA Headquarters in Zürich, to decide the matchups of the second round (between the first round winner and teams from AFC, CAF, and CONCACAF), and the opponents of the two second round winners in the semi-finals (teams from CONMEBOL and UEFA).[21] At the time of the draw, the identity of the teams from AFC, CAF and CONMEBOL were not known.[22][23]

If a match was tied after normal playing time:[2]

  • For elimination matches, extra time would be played. If still tied after extra time, a penalty shoot-out would be held to determine the winner.
  • For the matches for fifth place and third place, no extra time would be played, and a penalty shoot-out would be held to determine the winner.
First round Second round Semi-finals Final
 12 December – Al Ain                          
   Al-Ain (p)  3 (4)   15 December – Al Ain        
   Team Wellington  3 (3)        Espérance de Tunis  0
18 December – Al Ain
     Al-Ain  3    
   River Plate  2 (4)
       Al-Ain (p)  2 (5)  
22 December – Abu Dhabi
   Real Madrid  4
15 December – Al Ain
     Al-Ain  1
   Kashima Antlers  3
19 December – Abu Dhabi
   Guadalajara  2    
   Kashima Antlers  1
Fifth place Third place
       Real Madrid  3  
   Espérance de Tunis (p)  1 (6)    Kashima Antlers  0
   Guadalajara  1 (5)    River Plate  4
18 December – Al Ain 22 December – Abu Dhabi

All times are local, GST (UTC+4).[24]

First roundEdit

Al-Ain  3–3 (a.e.t.)  Team Wellington
Attendance: 15,279
Referee: Ryuji Sato (Japan)

Second roundEdit

Kashima Antlers  3–2  Guadalajara

Espérance de Tunis  0–3  Al-Ain

Match for fifth placeEdit

Espérance de Tunis  1–1  Guadalajara


River Plate  2–2 (a.e.t.)  Al-Ain

Kashima Antlers  1–3  Real Madrid
  • Bale   44'53'55'

Match for third placeEdit

Kashima Antlers  0–4  River Plate


Real Madrid  4–1  Al-Ain


Final rankingEdit

Per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time were counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-out were counted as draws.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
    Real Madrid (UEFA) 2 2 0 0 7 2 +5 6
    Al-Ain (AFC) (H) 4 1 2 1 9 9 0 5
    River Plate (CONMEBOL) 2 1 1 0 6 2 +4 4
4   Kashima Antlers (AFC) 3 1 0 2 4 9 −5 3
5   Espérance de Tunis (CAF) 2 0 1 1 1 4 −3 1
6   Guadalajara (CONCACAF) 2 0 1 1 3 4 −1 1
7   Team Wellington (OFC) 1 0 1 0 3 3 0 1
Source: FIFA
(H) Host.


The following awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament.[26]

Golden Ball Silver Ball Bronze Ball
  Gareth Bale
(Real Madrid)
  Rafael Santos Borré
(River Plate)
FIFA Fair Play Award
  Real Madrid


  1. ^ "Alibaba E-Auto signs as Presenting Partner of the FIFA Club World Cup". 9 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Regulations FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b "2022 FIFA World Cup to be played in November/December". 21 March 2015.
  4. ^ "OC for FIFA Competitions approves procedures for the Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup". 14 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Blatter: A legacy for the future". 19 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Bidding process opened for eight FIFA competitions". 19 December 2013.
  7. ^ "India may get to host FIFA Club World Cup". 15 October 2014.
  8. ^ "FIFA Executive committee meeting agenda now available". FIFA. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  9. ^ "High interest in hosting FIFA competitions". 9 May 2014.
  10. ^ "River Plate triumph in Superclásico Libertadores final". 9 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Real Madrid make it three in a row". 26 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Kashima win maiden AFC Champions League title". 10 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Esperance win third African club title". 9 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Chivas claim continental glory to end five-decade drought". 26 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Team Wellington crowned continental kings, earn Club World Cup berth". 20 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Al Ain book UAE 2018 berth". 22 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Match officials for UAE 2018 appointed". 16 October 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Referees, Assistant Referees & VAR for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018" (PDF). 16 October 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Update to referees list for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018". 22 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Referees, Assistant Referees & VAR for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018" (PDF).
  21. ^ "Draw shows path to Club World Cup title". 4 September 2018.
  22. ^ "The FIFA Club World Cup draw explained". 31 August 2018.
  23. ^ "FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 - Official Draw". YouTube. 4 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Match Schedule FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Match report, Final, Real Madrid CF – Al Ain FC" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 22 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Bale, Caio and Borre sweep awards". 22 December 2018.

External linksEdit