The eighth edition of the Fifa Club World Cup is at the business end of proceedings now and Barcelona will be looking to book their place in the final in Japan. The six continental champions traditionally do battle in this competition and Barca have enjoyed the benefit of entering at the semi-final stage, with Bet 365 pricing them 1/6 odds on to win the tournament.
They and South American championsSantos have both had the advantage of entering the competition at the semi-final stage and we could be in store for another Europe v South America final.
Santos booked their place in the final with a 3-1 win over Japanese champions and tournament hosts Kashiwa Reysol on Wednesday. Their Brazilian starlet Neymar scored a stunning opener and he could yet be representing a top European team in the Champions League next season, but for now he will be focused on winning this tournament for Santos. Brazil has produced the most winners of the Fifa Club World Cup and Santos will bid to become the fourth, with Bet 365 offering industry best priced odds of 7/2 for them to claim glory.
Barcelona look likely to join Santos in the final as the 2006 finalists and 2009 winners play their semi-final match on Thursday. They arrive in Japan on the back of their exciting 3-1 win over Real Madrid in La Liga, a victory which saw them return to the top of the Spanish table.
Pep Guardiolas men will meet Al Sadd (80/1), the AFC Champions League winners, in Thursdays semi-final. The bookmakers appear to rate this match as a mere formality for Barca as they come up against the Qatari side who upset the odds to top their group in the AFC Champions League before winning their quarter-final tie by virtue of the opposition fielding an ineligible player. Al Sadd produced one final effort to win the AFC Champions League final on penalties and they will need to upset the odds again this week.
Bet365.com offer match odds of 1/33 for Barcelona to win, while Al Sadd are a mammoth 50/1 to win the match, with the draw priced 12/1. It is tough to see the Qatari side getting anything out of this game and perhaps their best chance is if Barcelona are suffering from jet lag.
Guardiola and co will no doubt be keen to combat any tiredness and Lionel Messi starts the match at 12/5 to be first goalscorer, with the reportedly unhappy David Villa an 11/4 punt in the same market. B365 offer ashort 21/20 for Barca to beat Al Sadd by four or more goals as they look to secure their place in what would be an exciting final with Santos.
1/6 Barcelona7/2 Santos80/1 Al Sadd
1/33 Barcelona12/1 Draw50/1 Al Sadd
11/1 Barcelona 1-011/2 Barcelona 2-016/1 Barcelona 2-15/1 Barcelona 3-012/1 Barcelona 3-111/2 Barcelona 4-014/1 Barcelona 4-17/1 Barcelona 5-0150/1 Al Sadd 1-0
12/5 Lionel Messi11/4 David Villa7/2 Rodriguez Pedro9/2 Alexis Sanchez9/2 Cesc Fabregas13/2 Andres Iniesta17/2 Alcantara Thiago17/2 Seydou Keita17/2 Xavi12/1 Dani Alves14/1 Dos Santos Jonathan
Odds supplied byBet365.com, who provide live in-running betting for all of the remaining Fifa Club World Cup matches.