As the Blues prepare to break new ground, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton go global with their in-depth look at Thursday's game…
'You can never, ever say challenging for a trophy comes at a bad time,' Rafael Benitez said recently. 'It's silverware and a cup we want to win.' Chelsea's interim manager coached Inter to this title in 2010.
Now it's London Calling on the FIFA Club World Cup, and Chelsea aim to make history and be crowned kings of the world on Sunday. The tricky Mexicans of Monterrey are the opening obstacle early Thursday morning.
Despite 107 years of globetrotting, Chelsea make our bow in Japan this week and will break the capital's duck in the FIFA Club World Cup and its various antecedents. The Thursday and Sunday arrangement of the tournament is a match-going rhythm that will become familiar in the spring with the UEFA Europa League.
It helps in a trophy chase to have fortune on your side. Perhaps trampling a few Black Cats en route will help bring us luck. Following that impressive win at Sunderland Fernando Torres and Juan Mata are fifth and seventh top scorers in England in all competitions with 11 and 10 goals respectively.
Torres has never taken a penalty in England before. His previous success from the spot was for Atlético against Gimnastic way back on 27 May 2007.
This is the ninth edition of the Club World Cup format. The tournament is contested by the champions of each of the six continental confederations plus the league winner from the host nation Japan. The winners will receive prize money of $5 million.
Monterrey - nicknamed Rayados, or Stripes - qualified for this tournament by beating Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League final over two legs in April. (Unlike Chelsea, they have already qualified for the knockout phase of the 2012/13 version - although the last of their group stage matches, at Chorrillo, was watched by just 130 spectators.)
Mexico's 18-team Liga MX is split into summer (apertura) and winter (clausura) sections. Monterrey finished seventh in the apertura league, 11 points behind leaders Deportivo Toluca, and lost in the title play-off to eventual winners Tijuana on 19 November. That was their most recent action prior to beating Unsal Hyundai 3-1 in Toyota - their first win in six matches. The Liga MX Clausura starts in January.
Chelsea famously gained entry to this international football's elite tournament by triumphing over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on the Germans' own soil. In previous decades the Blues would then have been invited to participate in a smaller, less prestigious international event.
The main predecessor of the current tournament was the European-South American Cup, better known as the Intercontinental Cup, contested annually (with two exceptions) from 1960 to 2004 by the winners of the European Cup/Champions League and the South American equivalent, the Copa Libertadores. The tie comprised two legs home and away before 1980, when it became a one-off match in Japan - the Toyota Cup.
The only English winners in that period were Manchester United in 1999. Runners-up were Manchester United in 1968, Nottingham Forest 1980, Liverpool 1981 and 1984 and Aston Villa 1982. Liverpool (twice) and Nottingham Forest declined invitations to compete for the trophy.
This was not a FIFA competition; the federation had staged its own version, the Club World Championship, in 2000, but it was not till 2005 that the two tournaments merged as the FIFA Club World Cup.
In its current guise, Manchester United (2008 champions) and Liverpool (runners-up 2005) are the only English teams to have contested the final.
As champions of Europe and London pioneers at an official inter-continental cup tournament, Chelsea are also bidding to become the capital's first world champions. Previously the Blues became the city's only holders of the UEFA Super Cup in 1998, and were runners-up again earlier this season.
Chelsea's match with Monterrey in Yokohama will be only the second to use the GoalRef technology being tested by IFAB and accredited by FIFA, the international football bodies. A joint Danish/German joint venture, GoalRef works through sensors inside the ball and goalposts, without the cameras on which Hawk-Eye, used in all Toyota Stadium games, relies.
If the technology detects the ball crossing the line a device on the referee's wrist will instantly alert him, without the dramatic tension (and transparency) of the big-screen playbacks that feature in tennis or cricket.
How fitting it would be were Frank Lampard, arguably twice robbed by the lack of goalmouth technology, to be its first beneficiary. There have been no incidents in the tournament to date.
The first choice colours of both teams features blue and white (navy blue in the Mexicans' case). Each team must have two outfield players' kits approved by FIFA - one predominantly light, the other predominantly dark. Three goalkeepers' strips are also required, all distinct from those of officials. FIFA decide which kit each team wears and Chelsea will wear our home kit against Monterrey.
Rayados report around 300 supporters from Mexico in Japan. Chelsea's following in the Yokohama International Stadium is likely to be significantly larger.
Both the Blues' matches in Japan will be covered live on Chelsea TV.
The Capital One Cup quarter-finals progressed in Chelsea's absence. When the Blues play at Leeds next Wednesday we will be aiming to join Bradford City, Aston Villa and Swansea or Middlesbrough (playing tonight, Wednesday) in the semi-finals, which will be drawn only after the Elland Road clash.
|Brazil||2000||Corinthians (Brazil)||Vasco da Gama (Brazil)|
|Japan||2005||São Paulo (Brazil)||Liverpool|
|Japan||2007||AC Milan||Boca Juniors (Argentina)|
|Japan||2008||Manchester United||LDU Quito (Ecuador)|
|UAE||2010||Internazionale||Mazembe (DR Congo)|
Competing teams Confederation
Chelsea (England) - UEFA
Corinthians (Brazil) - CONMEBOL
Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea) - AFC
Al-Ahly (Egypt) - CAF
Monterrey (Mexico) - CONCACAF
Auckland City (New Zealand) - OFC
Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japan) - Host Representative - J League winner
Toyota Stadium: capacity 45,000.
Yokohama International Stadium: capacity 72,327.
Chelsea will play both games in Yokohama.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes, 30 minutes extra time will be played. If there is still no winner the tie will be decided on penalties.
FIFA Club World Cup results
Play-off for quarter-finals
Dec 6 - Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 Auckland City (Yokohama)
Dec 9 - Ulsan Hyundai 1 - 3 Monterrey (Toyota)
Dec 9 - Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1 - 2 Al-Ahly (Toyota)
5th/6th place play-off
Dec 12 - Ulsan Hyundai 2-3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Toyota)
Dec 12 - Al-Ahly 0-1 Corinthians (Toyota)
FIFA Club World Cup fixtures
Thu Dec 13 - Monterrey v Chelsea - kick-off 10.30am UK time (Yokohama)
3rd/4th place play-off
Sun Dec 16 - kick-off 7.30am UK time (Yokohama)
Sun Dec 16 - kick-off 10.30am UK time (Yokohama)
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are London's first participants in this competition or it predecessors the Intercontinental Cup, World Club Championship or Toyota Cup. Founded in 1905, the Blues are actually the oldest club in this competition. Next are Al-Ahly, started in 1907, and Corinthians, 1910.
Oscar's Brazilian side Internacional finished third in the 2010 competition, staged in the United Arab Emirates, having won it in 2006. Then 19, the midfielder played 15 minutes as a substitute in the semi-final defeat by Tout Puissant Mazembe Englebert of DR Congo.
Interim Chelsea manager Rafel Benítez won the trophy that year with Internazionale, beating Mazembe 3-0 in the final.
Monterrey have already surpassed their 2011 showing in this tournament - they were knocked out on penalties in their opening match by J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol.
Although Chelsea and Monterrey have never met each other, the Blues have played Mexican opposition twice before, both in the last five years, and both won by the Londoners.
The two meetings were part of pre-season tours to the United States in 2007 and 2009 and against Club América - recently named CONCACAF's 'best team of the decade' by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.
Saturday July 14 2007
Club America 1 Chelsea 2 (Palo Alto, California)
Scorers: Malouda (74), Terry (83).
Sunday July 26 2009
Club America 0 Chelsea 2 (Dallas, Texas)
Scorers: Di Santo (75), Malouda (77)
Visit again this evening for Part Two of the Briefing.