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17.12.2016 » Club World Cup Final: Real Madrid vs Kashima Antlers Preview

Real Madrid vs Kashima Antlers game poster

Real Madrid will have the opportunity to finish 2016 in great style and in Japanese soil. In order for that to happen, the Merengues need to beat Kashima Antlers this Sunday morning and earn their World champions crown.

On a weekend where other La Liga teams play their final game of the year ahead of a 3-week winter break, Real Madrid are safe in the knowledge that they will still end the year top of the table, and remain the bookmakers favourites to win the league. The FIFA Club World Cup? It's being considered just a formality in Madrid's reign, which can in fact turn out to be the biggest threat for Zinedine Zidane's men in a tournament like this. It all comes down to this Sunday's final game: Real Madrid will face Japanese club, Kashima Antlers, in the FIFA Club World Cup final at the International Stadium of Yokohama, with the Spanish club pegged at 1/8 to win. Heavy favourites, as everyone expected...

Real Madrid best goals in 2016:

The reigning European champions advanced to the final after registering a convincing 2-0 win over Mexican side, Club America, on Thursday. Real Madrid dominated possession in the first half and created several clear-cut goal scoring opportunities. However, the Spanish giants couldn't capitalise on their chances and lacked accuracy in front of goal.

They finally broke the deadlock towards the end of the first half through Karim Benzema, who scored with the outside of his right boot after being set up brilliantly by Toni Kroos.

Real Madrid's domination continued in the second half, and they eventually sealed the tie when Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the stoppage time. With that strike, Ronaldo, the 2016 Ballon d'Or winner, has now scored his 500th club goal in his career. There was some confusion with that goal as it was initially disallowed for offside, before being confirmed by Paraguayan referee, Enrique Caceres, using FIFA's new pitchside video technology (VAR).

Real Madrid players lined up in a FIFA Club World Cup game

Ronaldo, 31, who joined Real Madrid in 2009 for a then world-record fee of £80m, has taken his Real Madrid goal tally to 377. He scored 118 goals for Manchester United and 5 for Sporting Lisbon.

The Portuguese is the second highest all-time goalscorer in La Liga with 270 goals, only behind Lionel Messi. He is also the record holder for the most all-time goals - 95 in 133 games - in the Champions League. This has been a phenomenal year for Ronaldo, who won his second Champions League title with Real Madrid last season. And he has another chance to lift the FIFA Club World Cup again, should Madrid win against Kashima Antlers tomorrow morning.

Possible Real Madrid starting line up:
Navas, Carvajal, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo, Modric, Kroos, Casemiro, Vazquez, Benzema, Ronaldo.

Kashima became the first Asian team to make the Club World Cup final after beating Atletico Nacional 3-0 on Wednesday. The match, however, will be remembered for something else - the Japanese club became the first side to benefit from a video replay in a FIFA competition. The match referee, Viktor Kassai, decided to conduct an on-field review of footage via the pitch-side monitor after being alerted to an incident by his assistant, for the first goal. He pointed to the spot after replay showed that Daigo Nishi was tripped inside the area by Atletico's Orlando Berrio. Shoma Doi converted the penalty, while Kashima sealed the tie with late goals from Yasushi Endo and Yuma Suzuki.

Possible Kashima Antlers starting line up:
Sogahata, Nakamura, Nishi, Shibasaki, Shoji, Ogasawara, Ueda, Doi, Akasaki, Yamamoto, Endo

Real Madrid are in impressive form this season and are unbeaten in their last 36 games in all competitions.

Prediction:
Real Madrid 3-0 Kashima Antlers

Cristiano Ronaldo inhaling before taking a free-kick

Cristiano Ronaldo next game is a FIFA Club World Cup fixture, on December 18 of 2016 against either Kashima Antlers. You can watch Real Madrid vs Kashima Antlers, Barcelona vs Espanyol, Manchester City vs Arsenal, Tottenham vs Burnley, and Bournemouth vs Southampton, all matches provided from our football live game pages.

Real Madrid next game:
Real Madrid vs Kashima Antlers
kick-off time (18-12-2016):

Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 18:30
Jakarta
(Indonesia)
| UTC/GMT+7: 17:30
India (New Delhi) |
UTC/GMT+5.30: 16:00
Spain
(Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 11:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 10:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-2: 09:30
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 07:30
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 04:30

Sources: ronaldo7.net / independent.co.uk / goal.com / bbc.com

Cristiano Ronaldo passing out instructions on the field

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