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Goal.com's Best XI of the 2012 Fifa Club World Cup: Corinthians reign after dramatic Chelsea victory

Goal.com's Best XI of the 2012 Fifa Club World Cup: Corinthians reign after dramatic Chelsea victory

Dan Orlowitz

The Brazilian side indelibly stamped their place in history - and in the hearts of locals - with their unprecedented travelling support and unexpected win over the European champs

After an exciting 10 days of competition, the 2012 Fifa Club World Cup wrapped up on Sunday night with the crowning of world champions Corinthians after their 1-0 win over Chelsea.

With a charismatically Brazilian style of play and the support of 30,000 Timao faithful, it's no surprise that the Copa Libertadores winners dominate the list. But there were still plenty of stand-out performances worth noting in this year's tournament, the last to be held in Japan before moving to Morocco for the 2013 and 2014 editions.

Goal.com's Best XI from the Fifa Club World Cup

Formation: 4-3-3


Goalkeeper - Cassio

Corinthians


The 25-year-old was tested surprisingly frequently by Al-Ahly in the semi-finals before playing one of his most inspired performances to date against Chelsea. The tournament MVP, Cassio had an early scare in the first half but recovered to make save after save against a Chelsea attack that never seemed to find their rhythm against the tenacious Corinthians defence.


Right Back - Alessandro

Corinthians


Despite some pacing problems, the veteran was able to shut down Chelsea wonder-boy Eden Hazard in the crucial final. He also provided width to his team's attack, particularly in their semi-final win against African champions Al-Ahly.


Central Defender - Ivan Vicelich

Auckland City


Skipper Vicelich was a rock for his side in their play-off loss to Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and was especially adept at clearing crosses sent in by the Japanese side throughout the match. His late header almost drew City even, and overall the New Zealand international's performance was representative of the progress the side have made since last year's CWC.


Central Defender - Chicao

Corinthians


The 31-year-old has been frequently shown the yellow card in domestic competition, but his aggressive defending was exactly what was required in order to defend against the likes of Chelsea's attacking trio of Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, and Moses. Chicao also made some important clearances in the Al-Ahly match when the Egyptians looked dangerously close to equalising.



Left Back - David Luiz

Chelsea


Luiz was not too proud to shed tears of disappointment following Chelsea's loss on Sunday night, and Fifa's Silver Ball award for his performance surely came as little consolation. Against Monterrey the Brazilian showed brilliant pass-work as a midfielder, but on defence struggled to contain a much more talented Corinthians attack.


Right Winger - Lee Keun-Ho

Ulsan Hyundai


Asia's Player of the Year had extra incentive to leave a stand-out performance in his last campaign before starting his mandatory military service. Lee was fearless in pushing down the field and even running back to help out on defence, and his consolation goal against Monterrey was a superb strike regardless of the match's result.


Central Midfielder - Yojiro Takahagi

Sanfrecce Hiroshima


While captain Hisato Sato gained attention for his three goals in the tournament, Takahagi was the axis of the Sanfrecce attack and fed his team-mates with great passes in their three matches. The 26-year-old's lone recorded assist turned out to be the game-winning goal in the consolation match for fifth place, but his contribution to Sanfrecce's first CWC campaign cannot be understated.


Left Winger - Juan Mata

Chelsea


The Spaniard was the star of the night in Chelsea's 3-1 semi-final win over Monterrey, scoring the opening goal with class and remaining the heart to his side's attack throughout the match.

While he wasn't seen nearly as often against Corinthians, it's a sure thing that without Mata, Chelsea would have surely struggled more than they already did.


Striker - Cesar Delgado

Monterrey


The Argentinian was in peak form, scoring a double against Ulsan Hyundai in the quarter-finals before netting the insurance goal against Al-Ahly in the third-place match.

Delgado was one of two players, including Sanfrecce Hiroshima's Sato Hisato, to record three goals in the tournament, and the result was surely all the more sweeter after Monterrey's quarter-final elimination on penalty kicks in last year's CWC.


Striker - Paulo Guerrero

Corinthians

The Peruvian hero of the Timao scored both goals in their victorious CWC campaign, troubling Chelsea players all night with his skill and agility before calmly heading in the winning goal as a host of Chelsea players looked on from the line.

Guerrero, who joined Corinthians after several seasons in the Bundesliga, was honoured with the Fifa Bronze Ball award for his efforts in the tournament. But club supporters surely consider him their MVP after a gold-winning performance in both matches.


Striker - Mohamed Aboutrika

Al-Ahly


After scoring two goals as an over-age representative for Egypt in the London Olympics, Aboutrika provided a much-needed spark for Al-Ahly in their run to fourth place.

His first appearance came as a super-sub against Sanfrecce Hiroshima, when he scored the game-winning goal to send the Egyptian side into the semi-finals. While he was unable to score against Corinthians, Aboutrika had no shortage of chances and gave the Brazilians plenty of scares before that match ended at 1-0.


Manager – Tite

Corinthians


After winning the 2011 Brasiliero and this year's Copa Libertadores in his second stint at the club, former midfielder Tite now has a third impressive piece of silverware to add to his collection with Corinthians.

The 51-year-old was overshadowed by opposing manager Rafa Benitez in the run-up to Sunday's final, but was smiling in the end after leading his side to two 1-0 shut-outs to claim the title of the world's best club.



Special Mention - Corinthians Supporters

They came from Sao Paulo, London, Israel, Canada, Australia, and points even further abroad. With their banners, flags, drums, and even a handful of road flares, the Fiel (faithful) of Corinthians gave the competition one of the best atmospheres it's seen since changing to the current format.

In sharp contrast to a semi-final crowd that was largely supportive of Chelsea, the English side's blue uniforms were rarely seen on Sunday, drowned out by black and white. Corinthians fans turned Yokohama International Stadium into their own for just over four hours, but their presence will be remembered for much longer in Japan.

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