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Paulinho, Scolari and Robinho have all faced Barça before, and may again in Japan. / FCB

 Six of the seven participants in the FIFA World Cup are now known. FC Barcelona, River Plate (Argentina), Club América (Mexico), Mazembe (DRC) and Auckland City (New Zealand) were joined on Saturday by Guangzhou Evergrande of China, the winners of the Asian Champions League.

The whole Chinese team is not just any old team. Their payroll includes renowned players like Robinho and Paulinho and well-known coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari. If Guangzhou get past the quarter-finals against Club América, they’ll face Barça in the semis.

Domination in China

Guangzhou Evergrande have been winning for years in China, having won the last five Chinese Super Leagues with seven of their players making the ideal eleven in the competition. Among them is the Brazilian player Ricardo Goulart, who has scored 19 goals.

Winning their fifth Chinese Super League was not as easy as the others. In June, when they were co-leaders with two other teams, Scolari took over the reins by replacing Fabio Cannavaro. Weeks later, with the league half over, Robinho and Paulinho arrived to help drive the team to the Asian Champions League and Super League titles, making 2015 a memorable year for them.

Becoming the best team on the continent was not an easy task. They had to beat Gamba Osaka in the semi-finals (2-1 and 0-0) and Al-Ahli of the UAE in a final decided by a single goal (0-0 and 1-0).

Their second Champions League crown again puts them in the World Cup. In 2013, they secured fourth place. The challenge this time is to go further, which may set them on a collision course with FC Barcelona.



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