Al Ain fight for Club World Cup 2025 spot during ACL final against Yokohama

Saturday's winners will get to compete in next year's expanded 32-team competition against world's top clubs

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On Saturday night, Al Ain will attempt to land a second Asian Champions League crown.

The 2003 champions, the only UAE side to lift the continent’s premier club trophy, must overturn the 2-1 first-leg deficit against Yokohama F Marinos at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

However, victory carries with it another reward: whoever prevails in the Garden City will seal a spot at next year's inaugural 32-team Fifa Club World Cup – and thus compete against some of the game’s most prominent clubs.

Here’s the lowdown on the expanded tournament, set for summer 2025.

What is it?

For the first time, Fifa’s Club World Cup will comprise 32 teams – the past 17 editions dating back to 2007, five of which have taken place in the UAE, have featured only seven.

Designed to bring together the world’s leading teams, it aims to pit against one another the most successful clubs from each of the six international confederations: Uefa, South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).

The places are distributed as follows:

Africa: 4 CAF teams (three via CAF Champions League champions pathway and one via ranking pathway)

Asia: 4 AFC teams (three via AFC Champions League champions pathway and one via ranking pathway)

Europe: 12 Uefa teams (four via Uefa Champions League champions pathway and eight via ranking pathway)

North and Central America, Caribbean: 4 Concacaf teams (all via Concacaf Champions Cup champions pathway)

Oceania: 1 OFC team (via ranking pathway)

South America: 6 Conmebol teams (four via Conmebol Libertadores champions pathway and two via ranking pathway

Host country: One team

Where is it?

The 2025 Fifa Club World Cup will be staged in the United States.

When is it?

The tournament takes place from June 15 to July 13, 2025.

Who has qualified?

As of Saturday, 27 of the 32 teams have been confirmed.

Al Ahly (EGY) – 2020/21 and 2022/23 CAF Champions League winners

Wydad (MAR) – 2021/22 CAF Champions League winners

ES Tunis (TUN) – CAF ranking pathway

Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA) - CAF ranking pathway

Al Hilal (KSA) – 2021 Asian Champions League winners

Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN) – 2022 Asian Champions League winners

Ulsan HD FC (KOR) – AFC ranking pathway

Chelsea (ENG) – 2020/21 Uefa Champions League winners

Real Madrid (ESP) – 2021/22 Uefa Champions League winners

Manchester City (ENG) – 2022/23 Uefa Champions League winners

Bayern Munich (GER) – Uefa ranking pathway

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) – Uefa ranking pathway

Inter Milan (ITA) – Uefa ranking pathway

Porto (POR) - Uefa ranking pathway

Benfica (POR) – Uefa ranking pathway

Borussia Dortmund (GER) - Uefa ranking pathway

Juventus (ITA) - Uefa ranking pathway

Atletico Madrid (ESP) - Uefa ranking pathway

FC Salzburg (AUT) - Uefa ranking pathway

Monterrey (MEX) – 2021 Concacaf Champions Cup winners

Seattle Sounders (USA) – 2022 Concacaf Champions Cup winners

Club Leon (MEX) – 2023 Concacaf Champions Cup winners

Auckland City (NZL) – OFC ranking pathway

Palmeiras (BRA) – 2021 Conmebol Libertadores winners

Flamengo (BRA) – 2022 Conmebol Libertadores winners

Fluminense (BRA) – 2023 Conmebol Libertadores winners

River Plate (ARG) – Conmebol ranking pathway

Who is still to book their spot?

The five places still open at the tournament will be filled as follows:

1. 2023/24 Asian Champions League winners

2. 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup winners

3. 2024 Conmebol Libertadores winners

4. Conmebol ranking pathway (one team)

5. One team from host country

How will the 2025 Club World Cup format look?

Group stage: eight groups of four teams per group playing in a single-game, round-robin format.

Top two teams per group progress to the round of 16.

A direct single-match knockout stage from last 16 to final.

No third-place play-off.

What they said

Soufiane Rahimi (Al Ain) to Inside FIFA: “Only one step separates us from the [Champions League] title, and indeed it's a great incentive. Winning the title would allow us to participate in many tournaments next year, the most important being the Club World Cup. Every team would like to experience this adventure. We hope, God willing, that we'll be fortunate enough to win the title and participate in that tournament.”

Updated: May 25, 2024, 1:09 PM