Juventus advance to 2025 Club World Cup after Napoli eliminated from CL

AP , Wednesday 13 Mar 2024

Banned by UEFA from European competitions this season for breaking financial rules, Juventus still qualified for the 2025 Club World Cup on Tuesday when Napoli went out of the Champions League.

Napoli s Victor Osimhen, front, and Juventus Gleison Bremer, behind, vie for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Juventus at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy. Photo: AFP


Barcelona beat Napoli 3-1 in the second leg of the round of 16 to seal a 4-2 win on aggregate score that ensured Juventus advanced through a European ranking system to the revamped FIFA event.

Juventus is the 21st team to qualify for the inaugural 32-team edition of the Club World Cup that will be played in the United States in June-July 2025 by the continental champions from 2021 through 2024 plus other high-ranked teams from those competitions.

Juventus advanced one day after its former player Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr fell out of contention after being eliminated in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals.

Barcelona is still not sure to be among Europe’s 12 entries because it trails Spanish rival Atletico Madrid in the European rankings.

Champions League winners in the four-year period — Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester City so far — will be joined by eight or nine teams finishing highest in a table counting all results in the competition. Countries also are limited to two entries unless they have more than two winners of the continental title.

Inter Milan, which reached the Champions League final last season, already secured its Club World Cup place by ranking and Napoli’s exit Tuesday ensured Juventus cannot be overtaken as the second-best Italian team.

Juventus reached the Champions League round of 16 twice in the four-year span and also played in the group stage last season. It is currently No. 14 in the European ranking table though behind three teams from each of England, Germany and Spain which will reach their quota.

UEFA imposed a one-season ban on Juventus from its competitions in July in the fallout from a false accounting case that also saw the team deducted points in Serie A.

Juventus also was fined 10 million euros ($11 million) by UEFA though should more than recoup that in Club World Cup prize money paid by FIFA next year. The June 15-July 13 tournament has the established World Cup format of eight four-team groups then a 16-team knockout bracket.

Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Borussia Dortmund and Benfica also have qualified, and will be joined by either Atletico or Barcelona. Other teams still in contention include Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven and Salzburg.

Three Brazilian teams — Flamengo, Palmeiras and Fluminense — have qualified, plus Seattle Sounders, and Mexican teams Leon and Monterrey. Another U.S. team will qualify as part of a Club World Cup tradition to include the host nation’s champion.

In Asia, Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia and Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan are in. Ahly of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco have qualified from Africa and Auckland City of New Zealand will represent Oceania.

The last of the continental finals in 2024 is South America's Copa Libertadores on Nov. 30.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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