Luiz Felipe Scolari's men can have a strong say in who are crowned world champions this time, as John Duerden explains.
Asia has yet to make much of an impact at the FIFA Club World Cup but that could all change as the 2015 edition gets underway. AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande are representing the world's biggest continent and are ready to show the world what they, and Asia, are made of. FourFourTwo brings you five reasons why the continent has finally found its worthy representatives:
1. Genuine ambition
It sounds obvious, but there it is again. In the past, the typical objective of Asian teams who made it to the tournament would have been to try and get as far as the European champions, play against some of the best players in the world, put on a decent showing and steal a few headlines in the process. No more. Such small-team mentalities have vanished of late.
Guangzhou are a different beast and, unlike any of their predecessors (and competitors) see this tournament as an integral part of their development. Earlier this year, it was decided that the Reds, who have spent over US$150 million (SG$2.1 million) since 2010 with the return of five Chinese Super League titles and two continental crowns, want to be a top-20 ranked team in the world.
It is not exactly clear as to how such an achievement is to be measured, but winning the FIFA Club World Cup is a big part of it. Guangzhou have set their sights on what is deemed a feasible target. It need not be this year specifically, but within the next three years. The sooner the better, however.