Real Madrid face Kashima Antlers in the FIFA Club World Cup semi final looking to defend their title for a third successive year in Abu Dhabi.
After a poor start to the season, Los Blancos
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 19 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||16:30 (BST)|
|Where Is It Played?||ZSC Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Live Score|
Antlers boss Go Oiwa has a near fully fit squad to choose from as his side seek a maiden title.
Scorer of Antlers third goal in the last round, Serginho is set to start, as is former Schalke right back and Japan international Atsuto Uchida. The experienced defender made over 100 appearances for the Bundesliga side across a seven year spell.
Santiago Solari may rest several key players after Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the weekend, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio and Luka Modric expected to miss out.
Both Casemiro and Gareth Bale are injury doubts, meaning fringe players Vinicius Junior, Javi Sanchez and Dani Ceballos could start.
|Kashima Antlers||Kwon; Uchida, S.H. Jeong, Shoji, Yamamoto; Endo, Nagasaki, Silva, Leandro; Dio, Serginho.|
|Real Madrid||Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Llorente, Kroos, Ceballos; Bale, Isco, Vinicius.|
Head to Head Record
As alluded to, these sides have met just once in all competitions back in 2016, when Madrid narrowly defeated the Japanese side.
Antlers ended their J1 League campaign in good form after winning three of their last four league games.
Narrowly pipped to the J League title on goal difference by Kawaski Frontale last term, they finished behind their opponents again in a domestic league that started in February and culminated earlier this month.
Aside from their shock defeat to Russian side CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, Madrid have done reasonably well recently, rising to fourth in La Liga to sit five points behind arch rivals Barcelona.
The form of Karim Benzema and Bale has been particularly pleasing for Solari – both netting winners in victories over Huesca and most recently Vallecano as they seek a fourth final
triumph in five outings.
Here’s how each team has faired in their last five fixtures:
|Kashima Antlers||Real Madrid|
|Kashima Antlers 3-2 Guadalajara (15/12)||Real Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano (15/12)|
|Urawa Reds 1-0 Kashima Antlers (5/12)||Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA Moscow (12/12)|
|Kashima Antlers 0-0 Sagan Tosu (1/12)||Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid (9/12)|
|Vegalta Sendai 0-3 Kashima Antlers (24/11)||Real Madrid 6-1 Melilla (6/12)|
|Kashima Antlers 1-0 Ventforet Kofu (21/11)||Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (1/12)|
Having wrapped up their domestic season, Antlers will be fully refreshed in an unlikely attempt to upset the football odds.
Spanish giants Madrid were pushed all the way in the sides’ last encounter, but should
Prediction: Kashima Antlers 0-1 Real Madrid