History Of The Intercontinental Cup, The World Club Championship

The Intercontinental Cup is the predecessor of the Club World Cup and has changed its rules many times in its history.
History of the Intercontinental Cup, the world club championship

Today it is known as the Club World Cup, but was initially called the Intercontinental Cup. As the name indicates, it is the trophy that the best team achieves internationally. In this article, we will talk about the history of the Intercontinental Cup.

The beginnings of the Intercontinental Cup

To know the origins of the Intercontinental Cup, we have to go back to the 1960s and thank the French manager Henri Delaunay, who thought of organizing a tournament to determine who was the best club in the world. Which teams would participate? The European and South American champions.

In Europe, since 1955, the Champions Cup already existed. In America, however, since an equivalent tournament was being played, CONMEBOL decided to create a competition called the America’s Cup.

In the first edition of the Intercontinental Cup, the Spanish European champion Real Madrid and the South American Peñarol of Uruguay met. The competition mode consisted of two matches, home and away, to be played in the stadiums of both countries.

The first meeting took place in 1960 in Montevideo. The result was 0 to 0. The second leg was played in Madrid, where the merengue won 5 to 1 and became the first intercontinental champion club.

The revenge of the Uruguayan team came the following year, when they beat the Portuguese Benfica of the great Eusebio to win the cup. In the sixties, Santos from Brazil, our Inter and Racing from Argentina, among others, won the prestigious tournament.

During the seventies there were some drawbacks to the tournament. The two editions of 1975 and 1978 were not played because the participating teams did not agree on the dates of the matches. In that decade, the winning teams included Independiente and Boca from Argentina, Atletico Madrid from Spain and Bayern Munich from Germany.

Manchester United winning the Intercontinental Cup
Manchester United champion of the Intercontinental Cup in 1996.

History from the 1980s onwards

The history of the Intercontinental Cup changed dramatically in the 1980s, when it was decided to play only one game on a neutral court at the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium. Until the 2001 edition, the finals would be played there. Furthermore, from that year the Toyota company became a sponsor of the tournament until its last edition.

In the last three years of the Intercontinental Cup, the venue has moved to the Yokohama International Stadium. In 2004, the champion was Porto of Portugal, who beat Colombia’s Once Caldas on penalties.

From 1960 to 2004 there were 25 intercontinental champions, including 9 from Argentina, 7 from Italy, 6 from Brazil and Uruguay. The most successful teams, with 3 titles each, are: Milan, Peñarol, Real Madrid, Boca Juniors and Nacional di Montevideo.

From Intercontinental Cup to Club World Cup

Beginning in 2005, the Intercontinental Cup was absorbed by the FIFA Club World Cup, which has been running since 2000, changing its name.

This tournament is attended by the winners of the main international championships of the six confederations approved by FIFA, namely UEFA, Conmebol, Concacaf, AFC, CAF and OFC.

In 2017 the Intercontinental Cup was recognized as the direct predecessor of the Club World Cup. In this way, the teams that had been champions add the titles won between 1960 and 2004 to the new ones still to be won.

This, for example, has “benefited” Real Madrid, which have won 3 intercontinental cups and 4 world club championships (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018). Now, the Merengue are the team that has won the most international championships (7).

Football team that has won a cup.
Liverpool, the latest Club World Cup champion.

In this list, to the three titles already won in 1969, 1989 and 1990 by Milan, we must also add the one won in 2007. Barcelona FC, which does not appear in the list of champions of the old cup, comes forward with the titles of the 2009, 2011 and 2015 and is currently among the top winners, with 3 trophies.

Teams that have proven successful in the past, such as Peñarol from Uruguay (3 titles: 1961, 1966 and 1982), Boca Juniors from Argentina (1977, 2000 and 2003) and Nacional from Uruguay (1971, 1980 and 1988), they no longer won.

In the ranking of the teams with 3 international titles, Inter (1964, 1965 and 2010), Bayern Munich (1976, 2001 and 2013) and San Paolo (1992, 1993 and 2005) must be added.

Furthermore, following this merger, the country with the highest number of stocks is Spain (11), followed by Brazil (10). Argentina stopped at 9 cups, as none of its teams have been crowned champions since the Club World Cup was born.

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