Nick Dorrington

Who are they? Club Estudiantes de La Plata
Where are they from? La Plata, Argentina
How did they qualify? As 2009 Copa Libertadores Winners

Estudiantes are no strangers to the Club World Cup having competed against Europe’s finest on three occasions at the tail end of the 60s, including their infamous triumph over Manchester United in 1968. Their latest chance to do so comes following an unexpected 2-1 win away to Brazilian side Cruzeiro that clinched a fourth Copa Libertadores triumph earlier this year.

The Rat Stabbers currently look on course for a top eight finish in the Argentine Apertura following an inconsistent campaign during which they have always appeared to have one eye on their upcoming opportunity to take on the World in Abu Dhabi. When Estudiantes have been at the races, however, they have been scintillating, no more so than in their impressive victories at home to Boca Juniors and Velez Sarsfield.


Estudiantes will be expected to reach the final of the competition, especially after receiving a favourable draw for the semi-finals that saw them avoid Mexican side Atlante. They would certainly be underdogs in a likely final with Barcelona, but they were underdogs for much of their Libertadores winning campaign, and thus there seems to be a general air of optimism in the camp ahead of the tournament.

Key Players

Juan Sebastian Veron – Midfielder: The captain of the side, Veron is the calm old head who keeps the Argentines on a even keel with clockwork passing and the occasional moment of genius to unlock the opposition’s defence. Having followed in his father’s footsteps by leading Estudiantes to Libertadores glory, emulating Veron senior’s World triumph is now on the agenda. La Brujita’s advancing years are beginning to catch up with him physically, but his mind is as sharp as ever and he will be vital to Estudiantes’ chances in Abu Dhabi.

Enzo Perez – Winger: The hard-working Perez has burst onto the scene in the last couple of years with some rip-roaring performances up and down Estudiantes’ right flank. A pacey and direct runner with the ball at his feet, it is hard to imagine that any full-back will look forward to facing this flying wide-man.

Mauro Boselli – Striker: Unable to dislodge Martin Palermo from the Boca Juniors first-team, Boselli moved to Estudiantes in 2008 in search of regular football. Over 30 goals and a Libertadores triumph later, that looks to have been an inspired move. An old-fashioned, uncomplicated striker, Boselli offers a strong central presence and has displayed a knack for scoring at crucial moments in his time in La Plata, including a second-half double in the Libertadores semi-final with Nacional that secured their place in the final.


Alejandro Sabella: After many years working as assistant to Daniel Passarella, Sabella finally stepped into the limelight when he took charge of Estudiantes in March this year. He initiated an incredible turnaround in fortunes with his focus on high-octane, quick passing football, taking a side that looked slow and bereft of ideas in their early group games all the way to the Copa Libertadores title within four months of joining.


Estudiantes are certainly one of the top sides in South America at the moment and having kept hold of the squad that brought Libertadores success earlier in the year are well placed for a good tournament. Barcelona may be a bridge too far, but there is no doubting that Sabella’s team will give their all to try and add a second world title to the trophy cabinet.

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