Club World Cup Final Preview: Santos v Barcelona
Goal.com previews the action as the Spanish and European champions face Muricy Ramalho's men in the CWC final, looking to secure yet another trophy for their cabinet
By Tom Webber
Danilo, Edu Dracena, Durval, Leo
Ganso, Arouca, Henrique, Elano
Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal
Iniesta, Busquets, Xavi
Pedro, Messi, Fabregas
The Copa Libertadores champions will welcome back Leo after being left out of the semi-final due to worries over his fitness. This allows Durval to return to his favoured centre-half position, which fans must hope rectifies the defensive frailties shown against Kashiwa Reysol.
Ganso and Elano will look to build attacks from the middle of the park whilst Arouca and Henrique will look to press Barcelona hard and cover the defensive line.
Guardiola has a number of injury worries ahead of Sunday's final. David Villa has flown back to Spain to undergo surgery on a broken tibia that he suffered in the semi-final victory over Al Sadd.
Despite a brace in the previous fixture, Adriano will likely make way for Dani Alves, and Xavi will return to the centre of midfield, possibly at the expense of Thiago Alcantara. Alexis Sanchez is also a doubt so his place could be taken by Cesc Fabregas or possibly Isaac Cuenca.
Javier Mascherano also picked up a knock, and is likely to be replaced by the fully rested captain Carlos Puyol.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
Santos qualified for the Club World Cup by defeating Penarol 2-1 over two legs in the 2011 Copa Libertadores final in June.
- The Brazilian side won the competition twice in its previous format as the Intercontinental Cup. Their 1962 triumph made them the first team in South America to achieve a quadruple.
- Brazil is the most successful nation in the competition, supplying three different winners since its inauguration.
- Barcelona won the competition as recently as 2009 with an extra time goal from Lionel Messi earning victory over Estudiantes.
- The Catalan lost the last time they faced Brazilian opposition in the Club World Cup, bowing out to Internacional 0-1.
- Barcelona full back Adriano is currently the competition's top scorer. His two goals against Al Sadd leave him two behind compatriot Denilson's record of four strikes in a tournament achieved in 2009.
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Top 3 Predictions
Santos 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 20.41 %
Santos 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 16.05 %
Santos 2-1 FC Barcelona
- 9.11 %
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Aug 2, 2013||FC Barcelona 8 - Santos 0|
|Club World Cup (CWC)||Dec 18, 2011||Santos 0 - FC Barcelona 4|
|Dec 8, 2013||Goiás EC 0 - Santos 3||BRA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Santos 2 - Atletico Paranaense 1||BRA1|
|Nov 24, 2013||Santos 1 - Fluminense 0||BRA1|
|Nov 17, 2013||Esporte Clube Vitória 2 - Santos 0||BRA1|
|Nov 14, 2013||Santos 3 - Bahia 0||BRA1|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|-||Andreu Fontàs Prat||Defender|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
The 19-year-old striker continued his fine form from the close of the Brasileiro season with a terrific strike against Kashiwa Reysol in the semi-final. He dropped deep and pulled the defenders out of position, creating space for his team-mates to run into. He was extremely hungry for the ball and that passion will hold him in good stead for the final. Barcelona's defence will need to keep watch on the young Brazilian prodigy as he has the ability to create something from nothing.
The Argentine was not at his scintillating best against Al Sadd in the semi-final but he is always a danger. He will look to drop deep and exploit the frailties that the Santos defence showed in their previous game. It is still not clear how to limit the effectiveness of Messi and he will look to exert his ability between the lines. He scored a stoppage time winner the last time Barcelona won the tournament in 2009 and he should have an equally influential role this time around.
Despite having a more than competitive attacking line-up, Santos may struggle to contain the European champions. If Elano and Ganso are caught too high up the field then Barcelona may well find plenty of space to exploit. After a dreadful defensive display against Kashiwa Reysol, Santos will be conscious of the improvements needed to contain such expert opposition. It is the game they have looked forward to for six months but the Catalan giants will be unlike any team Santos have faced in South America.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed