The Intercontinental Cup is cup competition that contested between the winner of UEFA European Club Champion (currently called as UEFA Champion League) and winner of the South America equivalent Copa Libertadores. Started in 1960 this was a two-legged tie competition played in South America and Europe until 1980. This competition was previously known as European / South American Cup and it was brainchild of the UEFA president Henry Delaunay.
The team that won the competition will be regarding as the “de facto” World Champion although FIFA did not recognize it as this competition does not include the club from the Asian, African, North and Central America and also Oceania club hence this competition does not organize by FIFA and only by UEFA and CONMEBOL.
The first winner of this competition when it was started in 1960 is the great Real Madrid that had won the European Cup by beating Einthract Frankfurt 7-3 with Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano in the team. They had beaten the Uruguayan champion Penarol with Madrid hold team in Montevideo Uruguay before beating them 5-1 in Madrid to be the first champion of this trophy. In the following year in 1961 Penarol had become the first South America team to lift the trophy when they had beaten Benfica the European Champion. Penarol had been beaten in Lisbon Portugal 1-0 before Penarol beat them 5-0 in Montevideo. Due to no away goal or penalty shootout at this time ,they is a 3rd game needed to determine the winner and Penaral had beaten Benfica with 2-1 score line.
The trophy gain a full international recognition due Pele led Santos that called as OS Santasticos or O Bale Brance (the White Ballet) play a scintillating football to beat Benfica 8-4 via aggregate when they had beaten Benfica 3-2 in Brazil and trashing them 5-2 in Lisbon in 1962. The football that they had played dazzled the European as they had never seen a team play football like the Santos team did. They also had successfully defended the trophy in the following year 1963 to become the first team to won the competition 2 times in a row when they had beaten AC Milan 1-0 in the 3rd game playoff. On the next year 1964 and 1965 Inter Milan had become the first European Team to lift the trophy twice in a row when they had beaten Independiente from Argentina on both occasion. Penarol again had won the trophy in 1966 when they had beaten Real Madrid and gain revenge for their defeat in 1960.
After the international recognition that Santos had given to the tournament the downfall of the tournament had started from 1967 due to several incidents. First in 1966 the Brazilians was given a rough treatment by the European team on that year’s World Cup and Brazilians club had declined to participate in any international competition including the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup. Another thing that led to downfall of the competition is on the following year in 1967 the final between Racing Club of Argentina and Celtic form Scotland saw 3 player from Celtic and 2 from Racing Club was sent off due violent play and the competition had been won by Racing Club. In the 1968 Estudiantes La Plata from Argentina had won a bad tempered game against Manchester United from England to won the trophy.
However, thing will be turn to worst in 1969 when Estudiantes against qualified to this competition after winning the Cope Libertadores was trashed by AC Milan 3-0 in Milan. The return leg saw a violent game that had been dubbed as “Ninety Minute of Man Hunt” by the Italian press. The return leg saw the Estudiantes player intimated the AC Milan player off field and in the field AC Milan player like Prerino Irati and Gianni Rivera were punched especially Prati whom were knocked unconsciously. The worst treatment was given to Nestor Combin whom is an Argentinian born whom were brutally kicked in the face, and his nose and cheek were broken. Adding insult to injury he was arrested by Argentinian police due to never have undertaken military service in the Argentina. He was finally released after he had convinced the police he had taken a military service as a French citizen.
The Argentinian press were irate until they had said that Sir Alf Ramsey were right to called them as an animal referring to the England quarter final game against Argentina in 1966 World Cup. Argentine Football Association had taken severe action were Argentinian player Paletti banned for life, Suarez were banned for 30 games and Eduardo Manera were banned for 20 games. Since this competition is not under FIFA, they are unable to regulate any rules.
And since this incident the competition had been degraded when many of European Champion did not participate and were replaced by the runner up the European Champion. This had happened in 1971,1973, 1974,1977, and 1979 were the winner were replaced by runner up. Except in 1975 when both the winner and runner up Bayern Munich and Leeds United declined to participate and the competition was never held in this year. In 1978 when Liverpool declined to participate, Boca Juniors of Argentina declined to participate as this is the first time the South American team had done this.
The format of the competition will be changed when Toyota had taken the competition under its wing and make a one off game in Japan starting from 1980. Toyota also sanctioned that every team must participate in order to avoid an international lawsuit against them. Since then until now no team had declined to participate. Since the competition had taken over by Toyota South America team like Penarol , Independiente, River Plate , Flamengo, Gremio, and Nacional had dominated the competition in 80’s and only Juventus , FC Porto and AC Milan had won the competition on behalf of the European Team.
Things will be different in 90’s as the European dominated the competition. European Club like Red Star Belgrade, Manchester United, Juventus, Ajax Amsterdam, Borrusia Dortmund, Real Madrid, and FC Porto had dominated this competition and only Sao Paolo, Boca Juniors, and Velez Sarsfield had won the competition on behalf of South America. In this time only 2 team had won the competition twice in row and they are AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 and Sao Paolo in 1992 and 1993. The competition final game was played in 2004 and the last winner is FC Porto as this competition will be absorbed in FIFA organized Club World Cup championship.
The different this time this competition will include the club from Africa, Asian, Central and North America and Oceania and this competition will be hosted by FIFA chosen host. When the competition was started in 2000 with the first winner is Corinthians from Brazil , FIFA unable to organized the competition in 2001 as the collapsed deal of the FIFA Marketing Partner International Sport and Leisure.
And the competition was relaunched in 2005 with a different format compare to the first one. The first round will be a knockout stages game between the Oceania Champion and the domestic champion of the competition host. The winner of this play off will meet with the winner of the Asian, African, and the North and Central America continental champion. The 2 winner of this stages will meet with European and South America continental champion and the winner of the stages will meet in the final.
Until now only African team had broken the dominance of the South America and European by having a representative in the final and it was TP Mazembe in 2010 and also Raja Casabalanca in 2013. The team that had won the competition the most until now is Barcelona with 3 win in 2009, 2011 and 2014. Their win the in 2009 had created a record as this is the first time a team in world had won 6 major trophies in a single season. Unlike the previous Intercontinental Cup for now they are no team that had won the competition twice in a row.
The FIFA World Club Champion was best move to include all the continental champion to determine whom is the best in the world compare to the previous Intercontinental Cup where it was only between South America and European team. Let’s hope one day a team outside Europe and South America won the competition that had been dominated by both of this team.