European champions FC Internazionale Milano has arrived in Abu Dhabi tonight ready to taste glory in Abu Dhabi at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 presented by TOYOTA.
FC Internazionale Milano, who were the fourth team to qualify for the tournament currently running in Abu Dhabi, represent Europe after winning the UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich (2-0) at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid earlier this year.
The star-studded FC Internazionale Milano’s first match will be a semi-final showdown against the winner of AFC champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Al Wahda Sports Club, the UAE’s great hope who accounted for Hekari United 3-0 in the tournament opener to keep their dream alive.
Prior to landing in Abu Dhabi FC Internazionale Milano president Massimo Moratti has been quoted as saying: “The FIFA Club World Cup must be won."
FC Internazionale Milano’s arrival follows a successful opening to the tournament which has seen the Local Organising Committee (LOC) delighted with the response of fans who have thrown their support behind the event.
The Fan Zone at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium has attracted thousands of football fanatics ahead of kick-off in the opening matches and the success of the new bar coded ticketing system, used for the first time in the UAE, has capped off the perfect start for tournament organisers.
His Excellency Mohammed Khalfan Al-Rumaithi, UAE FA President, said: “We could not have asked for a better start to the tournament and we are overjoyed by what we have seen so far.”
“The atmosphere, along with the support and commitment from local fans who have got behind the tournament was everything that we had asked for and we could not be happier.
“We are particularity thankful for the involvement of the Abu Dhabi Police who have done a wonderful job supporting the event and ensuring smooth operations on the ground.
“Having the local host team Al Wahda win is obviously good for the tournament and with Inter Milan now in town we look forward to building on this momentum and enjoying more excitement ahead as we move into the next stage of this magical event.”
The opening match on Wednesday night between Al Wahda and Hekari United, beamed live to a global TV audience, was the beginning of 11-days of action and entertainment in Abu Dhabi, which is welcoming the world’s champion club sides for a second year.
The opening ceremony, which included 77 children representing the seven competing clubs, provided a seven-minute spectacle that sparked an incredible atmosphere within the stadium. A mixture of Arabic and dynamic modern music, along with footage of the UAE’s traditions and vision for the future, culminated in the release of 5,000 balloons and an inspiring two-minute fireworks display that kick-started the event in style.
Ahead of match kick-off fans, young and old, have enjoyed the Fan Zone which has offered plenty for football lovers to get them in the mood ahead of the action starting.
“It’s been great to see all the fans mixing it together and having plenty of fun,” said Andrew Butcher, 24, from Abu Dhabi.
“It’s been very good,” added 17-year-old Mohammed Salem Al Maamari. “The Fan Zones are a great idea and definitely makes fans more excited about watching the matches.”
Other clubs to qualify for the tournament are CAF club champions TP Mazembe, Mexico’s Club de Futbol Pachuca (CONCACAF) and SC Internacional (CONMEBOL).
To see these champion clubs in action organisers are encouraging fans to purchase their tickets now and be a part of experiencing the best compete for the ultimate prize in world club football at the Mohammad bin Zayed stadium and Zayed Sports City.
Fans can buy their tickets from www.FIFA.com/uae2010, through the Call Centre on 800 FLASH (800 35274) or +971 4 366 22 88 for international purchase. Fans can also buy tickets at Marina Mall.
The FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 Match Schedule:
Match 1: 8th December: Al Wahda v.Hekari United
Match 2: 10th December: TP Mazembe v. Pachuca FC
Match 3: 11th December: Al Wahda v. Seongnam Illhwa Chunma
Match 4: 14th December: Winner Match 2 v.SC Internacional
Match 5: 15th December: Winner Match 3 v. FC Internazionale Milano
Match 6, 15th December: Loser Match 2 v. Loser Match 3 (5th Place Match)
Match 7: 18th December: Loser Match 4 v. Loser Match 5 (3rd Place Match)
Match 8: 18th December: Winner Match 4 v. Winner Match