Lionel Messi (L) of Barcelona celebrates with team-mates after after the third goal scored by Seydou Keita during the FIFA Club World Cup semi final match between Al-Sadd Sports Club and Barcelona at the International Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Barcelona Vs. Santos, 2011 FIFA Club World Cup: Cules Win 4-0 To Capture Title In Convincing Fashion

Barcelona didn't have any problem with Santos FC in the Club World Cup final, easily winning 4-0.

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Barcelona Vs. Santos, 2011 FIFA Club World Cup: Final Score, Blaugranas Capture Title With 4-0 Victory

Santos FC's young players will soon move on and star for some of Europe's biggest clubs, but the team as a whole was no match for Barcelona. The Blaugranas were at their best on Sunday, winning 4-0 in a dominating performance. While Ganso and Neymar looked good when they got the ball to their feet, Barca were so good that the two Brazil stars' teammates were unable to find them on a regular basis. The European champions kept the ball brilliantly, hardly giving Santos a chance to attack.

Barca were at their best in the opening 30 minutes, and the game felt like it was over very quickly. Lionel Messi scored the opening goal in the 17th minute, assisted by Xavi with a spectacular one-touch flick into the box. Xavi added one of his own just seven minutes later, smashing home a great finish after touching down a cross by Daniel Alves. Barca slowed down after that, but still found a third goal just before halftime. Alves provided the setup again with a cross, finding Messi. Rafael made a great save on Messi, but Cesc Fabregas was there to finish the rebound.

Santos were slightly better in the second half, but couldn't find a breakthrough. Barcelona were content to sit on the ball for most of the half and kill off the game, but Messi provided the icing on the cake with a fourth goal in the 82nd minute. Receiving a ball from Alves - perhaps the man of the match - Messi went around Rafael and tapped the ball into the back of the net, capping off a brilliant performance.

For more on the Club World Cup final, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.


Barcelona Vs. Santos, 2011 FIFA Club World Cup: Halftime Score, Cules Cruising

Barcelona dominated the opening minutes, scored twice in quick succession, and now they're on cruise control in the FIFA Club World Cup final. Neymar and Ganso have had some isolated moments when they looked like themselves, but Santos FC as a whole have been completely outclassed. Barcelona have a 3-0 lead at halftime, and they're not looking like they're interested in embarrassing their opponents. They've stepped off the gas a bit and look to be cruising to the trophy.

The opening minutes were all Barcelona, as they easily controlled possession and put their opponents under pressure. It only took 17 minutes for Barcelona to get perfectly into their rhythm and break down Santos, with Lionel Messi scoring the opening goal. The finish was a classy one from close range, but the real brilliance was in the assist, provided by Xavi with an audacious flick perfectly into Messi's path.

Barca added their second in the 24th minute, this time with Xavi scoring a fantastic goal with a great control and strike from 10 yards out. From that point until the end of the half, they appeared to step off the gas a bit and play a bit slower, looking to keep the ball. They would find a third, however, thanks to some great work by Daniel Alves. In the 44th minute, he surged down the right flank and swung in a cross, which Messi got onto the end of. His shot was saved by Rafael, but Cesc Fabregas would eventually finish off the chance to give his team a 3-0 halftime lead.


Barcelona Vs. Santos, 2011 FIFA Club World Cup: Lineups

Both Barcelona and Santos have made some changes for the Club World Cup final, some forced and some out of choice. Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara will join Lionel Messi in the front line for Barcelona, while his entire first choice back line is back together. Santos will take out Elano for Bruno Rodrigo, and have also introduced veteran left back Leo into the team. Here are the lineups.

Barcelona Lineup (4-3-3): Valdes; Abidal, Pique, Puyol, Alves; Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi; Thiago, Fabregas, Messi

Santos FC Lineup (4-4-2 Diamond): Rafael; Leo, Durval, Edu Dracena, Danilo; Arouca, Bruno Rodrigo, Henrique, Ganso; Neymar, Borges

The injury to David Villa hasn't stopped Barcelona from playing their best team. This is arguably the best lineup that they can field at the moment. This, by the way, is the sixth competition that Barcelona has played in this season. Again.

For more on the Club World Cup final, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.    


Barcelona Vs. Santos, 2011 FIFA Club World Cup: Cules' Left Side The Key - Barca Blaugranes

Barcelona and Santos are both littered with fantastic attacking players, and since the Club World Cup is just a glorified friendly, they should have all kinds of freedom and space to roam. Yes, David Villa did pick up a terrible injury in the semifinal, but it was sustained on an awkward landing, not a crunching challenge. Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Neymar and Ganso should have plenty of opportunity to show off their skills. They're the players everyone knows and that everyone will be watching. So, let's take a look at the less obvious.

FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes is expecting to see a first team and a decent tactical battle, as if this were a real competitive fixture. Maybe it is? Kind of? In any event, they see the key battle as the one between Santos' right-sided players and Barcelona's left-sided players.

Eric Abidal should complete the defensive line-up at left-back and he will have to be careful with Danilo operating at right-back. Danilo is certainly a right-back in the mould of Dani Alves, but just as Abidal must be careful, the same can be said of the Brazilian. If he leaves a substantial gap on the right, it will be capitalised upon and whether Henrique (not to be confused with the ex-Barca man or Ganso) covers if Danilo ventures forward remains to be seen.  

For more on the Club World Cup final, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes

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