0-1, Gudjohnsen (minut 11)
0-2, Márquez (minut 30)
0-3, Ronaldinho (minut 65)
0-4, Deco (minut 85)
Barca are through to the final of the World Club Championship after crushing Mexican side America with a dazzling and ruthless display of first-touch football, accuracy and technical superiority.
Just how well the players would react to the jet lag after the long flight to Japan was the main doubt hovering over the preparations for the match. The opening minutes of the game made it plain this wasn't going to be a factor, with the team transmitting a sense of superiority and absolute control right from the kick-off. First half goals from Gudjohnsen (minute 11) and Márquez (minute 30) put Barca well on the road to victory and allowed the team to play a patient, creative game. Two more goals in the second half from Ronaldinho and Deco put the seal on a comfortable performance from the reigning European champions.
Barca started in spectacular style and kept total control of possession, with the game being played out mostly in the opposing half. Deco and Iniesta took control in midfield and the team in general showed great mobility and penetration down the wings. The opportunities soon started to flow, with shots from Ronaldinho, Márquez and Deco.
Barca's evident superiority was soon rewarded with a goal that came as the culmination of a superb combination of first-touch passing between Deco, Ronaldinho, Iniesta and Gudjohnsen. The speed and precision of the build-up was tidily finished off by Gudjohnsen and brought the crowd (mainly supporting Barca) to their feet.
Barca continued to pile on the pressure and limited America to the occasional counterattack and dead ball move. The Mexican side's best effort came as a result of a fierce Cabañas free kick in the 22nd minute, which Valdés saved at the post.
Márquez makes it 2-0
Barca's second gaol came from a Deco corner. Barca's Mexican international Rafa Marquez found the back of his marker to head home from inside the goal area, thus scoring his first gaol of the season against his fellow countrymen.
With the match very much under control, Barca came out in the second half to play a patient, holding game. Xavi replaced Motta in the 61st minute and contributed to even greater control, leaving the Mexicans with few opportunities. Barca continued to look for a third goal and provided some excellent entertainment for the Japanese fans.
With Ronaldinho and Deco leading the display of creative football, the Barca players were making the best possible advert of the Club - a continuous advertisement of spectacular, attacking football. After yet another superb combination, Ronaldinho seized on a rebound off the keeper to make it 3-0 (minute 61).
Deco gets his goal
The excellent football - and the chances - continued to flow during the closing minutes of the match and a fourth goal was almost inevitable. Once again, Ronaldinho pulled three defenders towards him and set up a shot for Deco from outside the area. The ball fizzed into the net just inside the post to put a fitting end to a superb display of attacking football that will have delighted fans everywhere.
FC Barcelona will be well supported from the stands against Club América. FIFA has authorised a 17x14 metre flag to be unveiled carrying the words 'More than a club' in Catalan, Spanish and English, as well as the Barça club crest. It will be unfurled by the supporters behind the south goal. A further flag measuring with 1.5 meter stripes in the colours of the Catalan flag will appear below, along with the Barça colours. There will also be 12 huge flags on poles displaying the words 'BARÇA! BARÇA!' to add to the carnival occasion in the Japanese stands.
FC Barcelona are keen to avoid the favourites tag against Club Mexico and are facing the challenge of a big game after only three days to get used to the new time zone. The target is to complete the first step towards a historic triumph.
This Thursday (11.20 / La Sexta and TV3) sees a different game to what we are used to. Mexican side America, the Yokohama Stadium in Japan and the FIFA Clubs World Cup are three very different things to the routine for Barça. Coupled with all that has been the need to adapt to a country that is eight hours ahead of Barcelona. Under no circumstances should Frank Rijkaard's side be going into this game with too much of an air of confidence, as they seek to win a place in the final, against Internacional, of a competition that they have never won before.
No to the favourites tag: Frank Rijkaard does not want his players to get the impression that they are the favourites, especially considering the jet lag they are still suffering while the opposition has been in Japan for well over a week now. Club America have already played once in the tournament, beating Korean side Jeonbuk 1-0, and that is just one more reason why they players will need to be fully motivated in order to avoid a disappointing exit at the first hurdle.
Doubts: Argentinian Javier Saviola has been given the medical all clear although it is unlikely that he will win a place in the first team ahead of Ronaldinho, Giuly and Gudjohnsen, who are the likely threesome up front. In midfield the most probable starters are Deco, Iniesta and Motta, given that Edmílson has gone down with gastroenteritis. There are plenty more options at the back, but whichever players are chosen, they will have their work cut out against the speedy Mexican forwards, who include a familiar foe in ex Valencia star Claudio López.
Mexican attack: The eagles are especially strong up front. Blanco, Cabañas and Claudio ‘Piojo' López are all quick, mobile players that can create plenty of danger even against a side like Barça. The 22 year old keeper Ochoa put in an extraordinary performance against Jeonbuk in the quarter final match, and more of the same is to be expected on Thursday. This is a very finely balanced side Barcelona are up against, with players like Villa in midfield and the goalscorer against the Koreans, Ricardo Rojas, unlikely to be overawed in the least by the occasion.
Recent precedent: Not so long ago, last August 9, Barça and Club América met in a pre-season friendly n Houston. The Mexicans stormed into a 4-1 lead and Barça staged an impressive comeback to secure a spectacular 4-4 draw. Barça had the excuse back then of having only just returned to action after the summer break. Márquez, who will be meeting up with several of his international team mates on Thursday, Saviola, Ronaldinho and Eto'o scored the Barça goals that night.