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Manchester City Crowned Club World Champions for the 1st Time in History

Manchester City campeão mundial de clubes da fifa club world cup 2023/24

Manchester City and Fluminense clashed in the FIFA Club World Cup final last Friday.

The Cityzens breezed past the Rio de Janeiro club, securing a resounding 4-0 victory.

Here, you can follow the key moments and reasons behind Pep Guardiola’s team outclassing Fernando Diniz’s.

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Both teams reached the FIFA Club World Cup final for the first time in their history, as it was their first continental victory (Champions League and Copa Libertadores).

Despite much anticipation about the match, as mentioned in the previous article, the element of surprise didn’t linger for long.

Right in the opening move, Marcelo tries to clear the ball concentrated on Fluminense’s left defensive sideline.

The ball reaches the midfield, finding Aké completely unmarked. The Dutchman controls it effortlessly and advances towards the goal, without any pressure. He decides to strike with his left foot. The beautiful shot hits Fábio, hits the post, and falls cleanly for Julian Alvarez to slot home with his chest.

The score opens just 1 minute into the game.

From there, Fluminense needed to open up further in search of an equalizer.

In classic Diniz style, Fluminense didn’t abandon their playing style and despite Manchester City’s high pressure, they continued passing the ball and at times breaking the first two lines of defence.

At the 15th minute, a moment that could have changed the course of the game. Tricolor exerted high pressure, and Ederson attempts to clear the ball. It doesn’t go far and lands at Martinelli’s feet, who passes it to Ganso.

The midfielder executes a beautiful first-time touch to Germán Cano, who dribbles past City’s goalkeeper but is brought down.

The referee initially awards a penalty, but shortly after, it’s overturned due to a minute offside call.

At the 26th minute, another goal from the Cityzens. Rodri spots André’s run and in a split second decides to pass to Foden.

The Englishman enters the box and attempts a cross. The ball deflects off Nino, leaving Fábio with no chance. City 2-0.

At the 40th minute, a chance for Fluminense to pull one back. From a corner, Arias heads amidst the giants, but Ederson makes an excellent save.

The English team picked up the pace towards the end of the first half and beginning of the second. Firstly, Grealish evades the defence and shoots from outside the box, but Fábio saves well.

Manchester City could have extended their lead earlier from a rehearsed set-piece. Foden takes a shot across goal, and Fábio makes another great save.

In the second half, with few exceptions, Fluminense lost their ability to break through the defensive lines, allowing their opponents to dominate the game entirely.

At the 71st minute, another low cross and Foden slides in to score alone. 3-0.

The rout was sealed at the 87th minute, with a move from Matheus Nunes, again from the flank, finding a low pass at the edge of the box for Julian Alvarez. The striker controls it, evades André, and shoots across. City 4-0, clinching the FIFA Club World Cup title for 2023/24.

Alvarez, notably, was awarded the tournament’s best player.

What a stellar career for the lad, winning all possible football titles at just 23 years old. Impressive.

Álvarez é campeão do mundo por seleção e clube aos 23 anos; veja currículo | futebol internacional | ge

Image: Getty Images

Why Did Guardiola’s Manchester City Prevail Over Diniz’s Fluminense?

Fernando Diniz | TNT Sports

Image: Reproduction TNTSports

After narrating the events, let’s delve into the analysis of the tactical and technical factors that led Manchester City to comfortably defeat Fluminense.

As we’ve reiterated multiple times, Diniz and Guardiola hail from opposing schools of thought (positional and positional, respectively), yet both prioritise ball possession in their unique ways.

The first goal, just one minute into the game, exemplifies how City’s style overshadowed Fluminense’s. When Fluminense restarted play from the sideline, they clustered around 6 players in the area, creating a massive gap between their defensive line and City’s first defined line, which in this case was also their defensive line.

Consequently, Aké had all the freedom to advance and create the play.

Another glaring tactical aspect was Fluminense’s lax marking in their midfield. When without the ball and dropping deep, the team’s first two lines guarded the entry to the box, but with considerable passivity.

Therefore, City’s ball carrier, usually Rodri, who possesses spectacular passing quality, had space and time to plan the next move.

So, it’s all about timing. As Rodri had the ball, André, most of the time, would leap to challenge him. In that split second movement towards the ball carrier by Flu’s midfielder, spaces opened up between the full-backs and centre-backs, precisely where Foden and Alvarez received with opportunities to finish the plays on goal.

The positive side for Fluminense, if there’s one after a 4-0 loss in a final, is that the team did precisely what Diniz asked for.

He had previously mentioned that if they were to lose, they would do so sticking to their convictions, and that’s what happened.

The Tricolor managed to involve Manchester City with their buildup play. The issue arose after breaking the lines; they didn’t have enough players to construct the play in the final third, leaving Cano and later John Kennedy very isolated.

Furthermore, Pep Guardiola expressed being impressed with Fluminense’s passing ability, mentioning, in other words, that his team is rarely caught out this way.

Another factor, as anticipated in the previous article, is the technical superiority of the English club. Having a player like Rodri, who effortlessly finds vertical passes, wins games and creates goal-fests.

Nevertheless, not just due to style but also due to positional and marking discrepancies, City managed to be champions, securing a win without three of their best players: De Bruyne, Doku, and Haaland.

Finally, once again, the technical gap between European and South American teams is evident, highlighting the vast difference in investment capacity between them.

Congratulations to Manchester City, consistently adding to their trophy cabinet year after year.

Guardiola se torna o maior campeão da história do Mundial de Clubes da Fifa; veja ranking

Imagem: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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Tags: Cups

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