Players of Tunisia's Esperance Sportive de Tunis hold up the trophy after their African Champions League final soccer match against Morocco's Wydad Casablanca (Photo: Reuters)
The yet to be determined J-League champion were drawn Thursday to face Oceania’s Auckland City in the opening match, with the winner advancing to face Mexican club Monterrey in the quarterfinals.
The Dec. 8-18 tournament features seven teams from FIFA’s six continental confederations.
European champion Barcelona and South American champion Santos are the seeded teams and enter at the semifinal stage.
J-League leaders Kashiwa Reysol, reigning champions Nagoya Grampus and Gamba Osaka are involved in a tight race to earn a berth at the Club World Cup.
The J-League champions qualify as the team from the host nation.
The Club World Cup returns to Japan for the first time since 2008. The last two editions of the tournament were held in the United Arab Emirates.