The FIFA Club World Cup 2023, renowned for its intense and high-stakes matches, has witnessed numerous dramatic penalty shootouts throughout history. These nail-biting encounters have become a defining feature of the tournament, capturing the hearts of football fans worldwide. The pressure-packed nature of penalty shootouts has led to unforgettable moments where players’ skills, nerves, and mental fortitude are put to the ultimate test. From surprising upsets to thrilling finals, these notable penalty shootouts have shaped the outcomes of individual matches and etched their place in footballing lore, adding to the rich tapestry of the Club World Cup’s history.

1. 2005 Final: São Paulo vs. Liverpool

The inaugural edition of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2005 saw a thrilling final between São Paulo FC of Brazil and Liverpool FC of England. The match ended 0-0 after extra time, leading to a penalty shootout to determine the champion. In a dramatic and tense shootout, São Paulo emerged victorious, winning 1-0 in penalties.

The defining moment came when Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard missed his penalty, allowing São Paulo to secure the title. It was a historic win for the Brazilian side, becoming the first team to lift the FIFA Club World Cup trophy.

2. 2006 Final: Internacional vs. Barcelona

The 2006 final featured an exciting clash between Internacional of Brazil and FC Barcelona of Spain. The match ended 1-1 after extra time, with Adriano equalizing for Internacional after Deco’s early goal for Barcelona. The penalty shootout that followed was a nerve-wracking affair.

Both teams displayed nerves of steel as they converted their first four penalties each. However, the tension peaked when Internacional’s Rafael Sobis stepped up to take the decisive fifth penalty. With the world’s weight on his shoulders, Sobis calmly slotted the ball into the net, securing a 4-3 victory for Internacional in the shootout and handing them the FIFA Club World Cup title.

3. 2009 Semifinal: Atlante vs. Barcelona

The 2009 semifinal between Mexico’s Atlante and Barcelona is remembered for its sheer drama and unpredictability. After a 1-1 draw in regular time, the match went into extra time, where no additional goals were scored. As a result, the encounter was decided by a penalty shootout.

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The shootout saw both teams exhibit nerves of steel, converting their penalties with remarkable precision. As the shootout extended to sudden death, Barcelona’s Seydou Keita eventually missed his spot-kick, giving Atlante a stunning 4-3 victory in the penalty shootout. The underdog Mexican side’s win over the European powerhouse remains one of the biggest upsets in Club World Cup history.

4. 2012 Final: Corinthians vs. Chelsea

The 2012 final between Brazil’s Corinthians and Chelsea FC of England was a highly anticipated showdown. Chelsea’s Gary Cahill opened the scoring, but Corinthians’ Paolo Guerrero equalized early in the second half. The match remained deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of extra time, leading to a penalty shootout to determine the champion.

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In a dramatic shootout, Corinthians held their nerve and showcased remarkable accuracy from the spot. They won the shootout 4-3, with their goalkeeper, Cássio, emerging as the hero after making two crucial saves. Corinthians’ victory over Chelsea marked the first time a Brazilian club won the revamped FIFA Club World Cup format.

5. 2016 Final: Real Madrid vs. Kashima Antlers

The 2016 final featured an enthralling clash between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Japan’s Kashima Antlers. Kashima stunned the football world by taking a 2-1 lead in regular time, with Gaku Shibasaki scoring both goals. However, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo equalized in the 60th minute to force extra time.

In the end, Real Madrid’s superior quality shone through, and they emerged victorious with a 4-2 scoreline after extra time. The match was significant for witnessing the first penalty shootout in a FIFA Club World Cup final. Although Real Madrid eventually triumphed, Kashima Antlers’ spirited performance and the dramatic shootout made it an unforgettable encounter.

6. 2018 Final: Real Madrid vs. Al Ain

In the 2018 final, Real Madrid was again involved in a penalty shootout, this time against Al Ain FC, the host nation’s representative. The match ended 1-1 after extra time, with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric scoring a brilliant goal and Marcus Berg equalizing for Al Ain.

The following penalty shootout saw Real Madrid emerge victorious, winning 4-1. Al Ain’s dream run ended, but their spirited performance throughout the tournament won the hearts of football fans worldwide. The shootout victory secured Real Madrid’s third consecutive FIFA Club World Cup title, cementing their status as one of the most dominant clubs in the competition’s history.

7. 2019 Semifinal: Flamengo vs. Al Hilal

The 2019 semifinal between Flamengo of Brazil and Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia was a thrilling encounter that featured an extraordinary comeback and a dramatic penalty shootout. Al Hilal took a commanding 2-0 lead in the first half, leaving Flamengo with a mountain to climb.

However, Flamengo’s fighting spirit came to the fore in the second half. They staged a remarkable comeback, with goals from Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Bruno Henrique leveling the score at 2-2 by full-time. The match went into extra time, where both teams had opportunities to secure victory but couldn’t find the winner.

In the penalty shootout, both teams displayed nerves of steel, converting their first four penalties each. Flamengo’s goalkeeper, Diego Alves, stepped up with the world’s weight on his shoulders. He made two crucial saves to deny Al Hilal, while Flamengo maintained their composure to secure a 3-1 victory in the shootout. The win booked Flamengo’s spot in the final, where they eventually triumphed to claim their first-ever FIFA Club World Cup title.

8. 2020 Final: Bayern Munich vs. Tigres UANL

The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup final featured a monumental clash between Bayern Munich, the reigning UEFA Champions League winners, and Tigres UANL, the underdog representatives from the CONCACAF region.

After a hard-fought match, Bayern Munich secured a narrow 1-0 victory, with Benjamin Pavard scoring the decisive goal. However, Tigres UANL’s resilient performance showcased their tactical discipline and defensive prowess, holding Bayern at bay for much of the match.

In the closing moments of the final, Tigres had a golden opportunity to equalize and force the match into extra time when they were awarded a penalty. André-Pierre Gignac, Tigres’ talismanic striker, stepped up to take the spot-kick. However, his effort struck the post, denying Tigres a late lifeline. The miss encapsulated the heartbreak and the acceptable margins that define football at the highest level.

Despite the narrow loss, Tigres UANL’s impressive showing in the final earned them admiration from football fans worldwide. The penalty shootout could have changed the course of history, and Tigres’ spirited performance highlighted the unpredictable nature of the sport.

9- 2021 Semifinal: Palmeiras vs. Al Ahly

The 2021 FIFA Club World Cup semifinal between Palmeiras and Al Ahly proved to be a memorable encounter. After a goalless draw in regular and extra time, the match was decided through a penalty shootout.

The shootout was filled with tension and drama as both teams converted their initial penalties confidently. However, it was Palmeiras’ goalkeeper, Weverton, who emerged as the hero of the shootout. He made two crucial saves, denying Al Ahly’s Hussein El Shahat and Junior Ajayi, ultimately leading to Palmeiras securing a 3-2 victory in the shootout.

Weverton’s heroic performance underlined the significance of goalkeepers in penalty shootouts and the potential to turn the tide in favor of their team. The win propelled Palmeiras to the final, where they faced Tigres UANL in a highly anticipated rematch.


In the FIFA Club World Cup history, several notable penalty shootouts have etched themselves into football folklore. These tense and dramatic moments have defined the tournament, showcasing the mental fortitude and nerve of players and the agony of defeat. From the unforgettable showdowns between European giants to the triumphs of underdogs from lesser-known leagues, penalty shootouts have provided some of football’s most thrilling and heart-wrenching moments. As the competition continues to evolve, penalty shootouts will remain an integral part of the drama and excitement, leaving a lasting impact on the tournament’s legacy and the memories of football fans worldwide.

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