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Why Arsenal’s Club World Cup fate rests on Champions League glory | Football News


Atletico Madrid became the latest side to secure their place in next year’s inaugural 32-team Club World Cup, but Arsenal have work to do to seal theirs.

Barcelona’s exit from the Champions League on Tuesday to Paris Saint-Germain confirmed Atletico’s spot for the competition in the United States despite their defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

They became the 22nd team to qualify for the new-look tournament which will be played in cities across America in June and July 2025 and contested by clubs from each of the six confederations.

With 12 spots open for European teams, the winners of the Champions League over the last three seasons – Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea – have already secured their places.

Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, Porto, Benfica, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus have filled seven more spots based on their Champions League performances over the past four seasons, including the current campaign.

Manchester City lift the Club World Cup
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Manchester City won the Club World Cup last December

The winners of this year’s Champions League will take one spot, with the next best-ranked team on the qualification pathway – which is Atletico Madrid – joining them in the US.

That means the only way Arsenal can qualify and have a chance at becoming world champions is to win this season’s Champions League, starting by beating Bayern Munich on Wednesday in their quarter-final second-leg showdown.

If they fail to do so, FC Salzburg will become the 12th and final European club to join the competition.

The Austrian champions can qualify despite being ranked below the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and AC Milan because FIFA limits countries to two entries unless they have more than two continental champions.

The tournament will be without Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool and AC Milan plus Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr.

Bukaya Saka gave Arsenal an early lead at the Emirates
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Arsenal must win this season’s Champions League to qualify for the Club World Cup

Three Brazilian teams – Flamengo, Palmeiras and Fluminense – have qualified as Copa Libertadores winners since 2021. Argentina’s storied rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors are likely to qualify as high-ranked teams in South America’s quota of six entries.

Seattle Sounders and Mexican sides Club Leon and Monterrey will be joined by another team from the CONCACAF region. Another US-based team should 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 have qualified. Al Ahly of Egypt and Wydad of Morocco have qualified from Africa and Auckland City of New Zealand will represent Oceania.

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