Al Jazira could face Al Hilal and then Chelsea in Fifa Club World Cup

UAE champions take on New Zealand’s Auckland City in play-off to open event in Abu Dhabi on February 3

The official Fifa Club World Cup match ball prior to the draw in Zurich on November 29, 2021. Getty

Al Jazira could face Al Hilal and then Chelsea in the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in February after the draw was made in Zurich on Monday night.

The UAE champions, competing in the rearranged tournament as host representatives, first take on New Zealand’s Auckland City in a play-off to open the event on February 3.

Should Jazira advance, they will then meet recently crowned Asian Champions League winners Hilal, of Saudi Arabia, in the second round. The winners of that tie progress to take on current European champions Chelsea in the semi-final, when Thomas Tuchel’s team enter the tournament.

Brazil side Palmeiras, who qualified for the Club World Cup after clinching the Copa Libertadores on Saturday, join in the last four also. They face the winner of the second-round clash between African champions Al Ahly and Concacaf counterparts FC Monterrey.

The seven-team tournament, the fifth time Abu Dhabi will have played host, concludes with the final on February 12. The 2021 edition was originally to take place in Japan next month, but the Japan Football Association withdrew in September citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at Monday's draw via video link, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “At moments it has been difficult to arrive at this moment, but we have. I want to thank all of you that have made it possible. In particular, I want to thank our friends in the United Arab Emirates for stepping in when football needed them to host the Fifa Club World Cup 2021.

“We all have such fond memories of when the UAE last hosted the Fifa Club World Cup 2017 and 2018. And once again, the United Arab Emirates will take centre stage early next year. Thank you.”

The Club World Cup previously took place in Abu Dhabi in 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2018. In 2017, in their only other tournament appearance, Jazira reached the semi-finals. Having taken a 1-0 lead against Real Madrid at Zayed Sports City, the UAE side were eventually defeated 2-1 courtesy of goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Madrid went on to lift the trophy.

Updated: November 29th 2021, 5:47 PM