Esperance to face Al Sadd at Club World Cup

African champion Esperance will face Asian champion Al Sadd in

the quarterfinals of the Club World Cup, with the winner advancing

to face Barcelona in the semifinals.

The yet to be determined J-League champion were drawn Thursday

to face Oceania’s Auckland City in the opening match, with the

winner advancing to face Mexican club Monterrey in the

quarterfinals.

The Dec. 8-18 tournament features seven teams from FIFA’s six

continental confederations.

European champion Barcelona and South American champion Santos

are the seeded teams and enter at the semifinal stage.

J-League leaders Kashiwa Reysol, reigning champions Nagoya

Grampus and Gamba Osaka are involved in a tight race to earn a

berth at the Club World Cup.

The J-League champions qualify as the team from the host

nation.

The Club World Cup returns to Japan for the first time since

2008. The last two editions of the tournament were held in the

United Arab Emirates.