Football: Auckland City draw possible semi-final against Chelsea in FIFA Club World Cup

Auckland City FC have drawn a possible semi-final meeting with European champions Chelsea in next year's FIFA Club World Cup, but face a couple of obstacles before the dream encounter can occur.

The Oceania champions must overcome UAE Pro League side Al Jazira in the opening round on February 3 and, if successful, Asian champions Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the second round, before taking on the European Champions League winners from England.

But Auckland City must also shake off the rust of a prolonged COVID-19 shutdown - their last national league outing was three months ago.

On the other side of the draw, Brazilians Palmeiras will face the winners of the game between African champions Al Ahly of Egypt and Americas winners Monterrey of Mexico.

The tournament will be played between February 3-12 next year.

Last year, FIFA chose Japan to host a traditional seven-club tournament, after an expanded 24-team event originally set for China in June 2021 was delayed due to the pandemic, but the COVID-19 situation in Japan prompted the country to withdraw as host.

Soccer's global body shifted the event to the United Arab Emirates, which staged the tournament in 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2018.

The annual event brings together champions from the world's six soccer confederations, plus the host nation's league winners.

The draw

First round

Match 1: Al Jazira v Auckland City FC

Second round

Match 2: Al Ahly v Monterrey

Match 3: Al Hilal v Al Jazira/Auckland City FC


Palmeiras v Match 2 winners

Match 3 winners v Chelsea