By Fernando H. Ahuvia
The 2012 Club World Cup kicks off in less than one week, and is set to cap off the year in football as the world's most well-known clubs vie to be named the best.
The tournament, which runs from December 6 to 16 in Japan, will see the top clubs from all the world's confederations battling it out. In this series, Goal.com presents to you all seven teams that will be taking part in this highly-anticipated tournament. Here, we profile Corinthians.
Under the light of a lantern, the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista was founded on September 1, 1910 in the Bom Retiro neighborhood of Sao Paulo by five young workers. The team name came from a tribute to England's Corinthian Football Club, who toured Brazil in the same year. In the late '20s, the Timao inaugurated the stadium Alfredo Schurig (Parque Sao Jorge). However, the "little farm" as it is known, was hardly used for actual games because of its small capacity of 18,000 supporters.
In over 102 years of existence, Corinthians has experienced many historic moments, such as the invasion Corintiana as fans flocked to watch the semi-final of the 1976 Brazilian Championship against Fluminense at the Maracana. On that occasion, more than 70,000 supporters went to Rio de Janeiro. The next year, 'The Timão' ended their run of 22 years without a title, beating Ponte Preta at Morumbi with a goal by Basilio. In 1982 and 1983, the club experienced the Corinthiana Democracy which put an end to 18 years of dictatorship.
In the 90s, Corinthians won four national titles: three in the Brazillian Championship (1990, 1998, 1999) and the 1995 Brazilian Cup. Right at the turn of the decade, the Timao became the first champions of the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Vasco on penalties. In 2007, the team experienced the worst moment in their history: relegation to the Brazillian Championship Serie B. The following year, Corinthians came back to Serie A. In 2009, with the presence of Ronaldo in the squad, the Timao returned to winning ways. The culmination of their renaissance came in 2012 as the Timao conquered their first Copa Libertadores, earning the right to compete in this year's Club World Cup.
|TACTICS & PLAYING STYLE|
Tite is experiencing the best moments of his career as coach of Corinthians and has a very strong squad at his disposal. In the Club World Cup, the trainer intends to organize his team with a 4-2-3-1, using a line of three attacking midfielders and Guerrero as a lone striker.
One of the biggest assets of this Corinthians team is their tactical flexibility. They are able to quickly change their approach, and even their attacking players are willing to drop back and help out in defence.
|THE STAR | Paulinho |
A star of both Corinthians and Brazil, Paulinho joined the Timao virtually anonymous, but has quickly ascended to the top. The 4-2-3-1 used in most games by Tite allows the defensive midfielder to even showcase his talent in the final third.
His dynamic performances for Conrinthians played a key role as the team thrived in the 2011 Brazilian Championship and the Copa Libertadores. Paulinho and 'watchdog' Ralf are considered by many to be the best pair of defensive midfielders currently plying their trade in the country.
|THE SYMBOL | Emerson Sheik |
After arriving at Corinthians in 2011, Emerson became the first player to win the Brasileirao three consecutive times with different clubs and wrote his name in the history of the Timao by scoring both goals in the final of the Libertadores against Boca Juniors.
Highly praised for his energy on the field, the attacker's movement usually creates plenty of trouble for the opposition. An artist on the pitch, Sheikh is also known for allowing his temper to spill out and has more often than not found himself at the heart of many provocations.
|THE YOUNGSTER | Romarinho |
The hero of the draw against Boca Juniors in the first match of the Copa Libertadores' final, Romarinho has already made his way to the hearts of the most loyal fans. The attacker was brought in by the Timao after being elected the revelation of the Paulista Championship (State Championship) this year by Bragantino.
Taking advantage of injuries to fellow team-mates, Romarinho played often in the second part of the seasons, but he will probably have to settle for a place on the bench.
|THREE FUN FACTS|
|PROBABLE STARTING XI|
Coach Tite used the last rounds of the Brasileirao to make adjustments and decide on what team he is going to use at the Club World Cup. Question marks only hang above his choices in the final third as Danilo, Douglas, Emerson, Paolo Guerrero, Jorge Henrique, Martinez and Romarinho are all vying for a place in the starting line-up.
The former Bayern Munich and Hamburg man is a doubt for the match as he is nursing an injury, but should he fail to recover in time, Henrique will be ready to fill in for him.