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How K League's qualification for new Club World Cup works with Al-Nassr gone

Ulsan HD and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors meet on Tuesday in the second leg of their 2023-2024 AFC Champions League quarterfinal with more than just a place in the last four up for grabs. Whoever wins will determine which K League team qualifies for the new FIFA Club World Cup.
Updated: 12th March 16:11 KST

Ulsan HD, or simply Ulsan Hyundai as they will be referred to during the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League, face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Tuesday night with a place in the brand new FIFA Club World Cup up for grabs.

The Asian Football Confederation has been allocated four spots in the 32-team FIFA Club World Cup, with the continental champions from 2021 to 2024 earning a spot.

For the AFC Champions League, however, the winners from 2021 and 2022 - Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia and J.League side Urawa Red Diamonds - have qualified.

The remaining two spots had down to Jeonbuk, Ulsan, or Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr, and who qualifies will be determined based on AFC club rankings and who wins this season's AFC Champions League.

But Al Nassr were knocked out of this season's ACL, losing to Park Yong-woo's current side Al Ain on Monday.

This means that it's possible for two K League teams to make it to the Club World Cup.

Jeonbuk, due to their superior ranking points, just need to reach the semis of the ACL to qualify for the Club World Cup.

Ulsan first need to displace Jeonbuk and will need to earn more ranking points in the semifinals through a win in either leg.

There are two scenarios that would lead to Ulsan and Jeonbuk reaching the Club World Cup. First, is if either of them win the current competition as then the other would qualify on ranking points.

The other will depend on who the opposition is in the final. If it's against Al-Hilal, who have already qualified, then Jeonbuk and Ulsan will both reach the Club World Cup.

There'll be a huge windfall for whichever team makes it as qualification alone will earn each club $54.7 million.

Jeonbuk are ranked second in Asia with 80 points while Ulsan are third with 72. Pohang Steelers are also in the top 10, ranking sixth with 56 points, and Daegu FC are 12th with 38.

What is the FIFA Club World Cup?

Officially named Mundial de Clubes FIFA, it will be held every four years with 32 teams. The USA will host the first edition in 2025.

How qualification works

Results over the last four seasons are taken into account, starting with the group stage of a region's top continental tournament. Three points are awarded for each win, one for a draw, and three points for progression to the next stage of the tournament.

Allocations

AFC: 4
CAF: 4
Concacaf: 4
CONMEBOL: 6
OFC: 1
UEFA: 12
Host country: 1

Which teams have qualified?

As continental champions

Manchester City (UEFA, England), Al Ahly SC (CAF, Egypt), Palmeiras (CONMEBOL, Brazil), Flamengo (CONMEBOL, Brazil), Real Madrid (UEFA, Spain), Al Hilal (AFC, Saudi Arabia), Wydad Athletic Club (CAF, Morocco), Chelsea (UEFA, England), Fluminese FC (CONMEBOL, Brazil), Urawa Red Diamonds AFC, (Japan), Club Leon (Concacaf, Mexico), Monterrey (Concacaf, Mexico), Seattle Sounders (Concacaf, USA)

Via ranking

Bayern Munich (UEFA, Germany), Paris Saint-Germain (UEFA, France), Internazionale (UEFA, Italy), Porto (UEFA, Portugal), Borussia Dortmund (UEFA, Germany), Benfica (UEFA, Portugal), Auckland City (OFC, Aotearoa New Zealand)

More information can be found here

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