By 90Min
December 18, 2018

Real Madrid face Kashima Antlers in the FIFA Club World Cup semi final looking to defend their title for a third successive year in Abu Dhabi.

After a poor start to the season, Los Blancos have somewhat regained their form - winning their last three games in La Liga and qualifying for the Champions League round of 16. 

Meanwhile, Asian champions Antlers defeated Mexican outfit Guadalajara 3-2 in the quarter finals to set up a mouthwatering tie in what will be a repeat of the 2016 final. 

The winner will face either Argentina's River Plate or Al Ain in Saturday's final. Here's 90min's breakdown of Wednesday's clash.


Where to Watch


When Is Kick Off? Wednesday 19 December
What Time Is Kick Off? 16:30 (BST)
Where Is It Played? ZSC Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports Live Score
Referee? TBC

Team News

Antlers boss Go Oiwa has a near fully fit squad to choose from as his side seek a maiden title.

Scorer of Antlers third goal in the last round, Serginho is set to start, as is former Schalke right back and Japan international Atsuto Uchida. The experienced defender made over 100 appearances for the Bundesliga side across a seven year spell.

Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

Santiago Solari may rest several key players after Madrid's 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the weekend, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio and Luka Modric expected to miss out. 

Both Casemiro and Gareth Bale are injury doubts, meaning fringe players Vinicius Junior, Javi Sanchez and Dani Ceballos could start.


Predicted Lineups


Kashima Antlers Kwon; Uchida, S.H. Jeong, Shoji, Yamamoto; Endo, Nagasaki, Silva, Leandro; Dio, Serginho. 
Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Llorente, Kroos, Ceballos; Bale, Isco, Vinicius.

Head to Head Record

As alluded to, these sides have met just once in all competitions back in 2016, when Madrid narrowly defeated the Japanese side.

Hiroki Watanabe/GettyImages

Despite a spirited comeback, former Real Madrid man Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick - including two extra-time goals in a 4-2 win.


Recent Form

Antlers ended their J1 League campaign in good form after winning three of their last four league games. 

Narrowly pipped to the J League title on goal difference by Kawaski Frontale last term, they finished behind their opponents again in a domestic league that started in February and culminated earlier this month.

Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Aside from their shock defeat to Russian side CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, Madrid have done reasonably well recently, rising to fourth in La Liga to sit five points behind arch rivals Barcelona.

The form of Karim Benzema and Bale has been particularly pleasing for Solari - both netting winners in victories over Huesca and most recently Vallecano as they seek a fourth final 

triumph in five outings.

Here's how each team has faired in their last five fixtures:

Kashima Antlers Real Madrid
Kashima Antlers 3-2 Guadalajara (15/12) Real Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano (15/12)
Urawa Reds 1-0 Kashima Antlers (5/12) Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA Moscow (12/12)
Kashima Antlers 0-0 Sagan Tosu (1/12) Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid (9/12)
Vegalta Sendai 0-3 Kashima Antlers (24/11) Real Madrid 6-1 Melilla (6/12)
Kashima Antlers 1-0 Ventforet Kofu (21/11) Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (1/12)

Prediction

Having wrapped up their domestic season, Antlers will be fully refreshed in an unlikely attempt to upset the football odds.

Spanish giants Madrid were pushed all the way in the sides' last encounter, but should Solari name a near full strength lineup, their quality could prove too much for the Japanese minnows.

If the Asian champions are to triumph, they must take any chances presented to them by their illustrious opponents.


Prediction: Kashima Antlers 0-1 Real Madrid

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