… as Arsenal exit gives FC Salzburg 2025 Club World Cup spot

Arsenal legend, Martin Keown and former Bayern Munich midfielder, Owen Hargreaves have criticised Gabriel Martinelli for a missed chance in the Gunners’ defeat against the Bundesliga giants.

Arsenal travelled to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday.

The first leg ended in a 2-2 draw last week at the Emirates Stadium, North London.

Martinelli had an excellent opportunity to put the Gunners ahead in the first half after being played in by Martin Odegaard.

The Brazilian chose to shoot with his weaker left foot and the shot was comfortable for Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Arsenal legend Martin Keown reflected on the opportunity and said on TNT Sports, “He [Martinelli] has picked up a really good position there, just waiting and you think why would you hit that with your left foot?

“You’re a right-footed player and he’s coming on to that, perfect angle, lovely approach play. Surely you’d hit that with your right foot?”

Hargreaves added to the conversation, saying: “I think if he gets that back he hits that with his right. He can see it coming and you always want to hit that with your good foot.

“In the end he just wants to make contact and get it on goal, because sometimes you say pass it in the goal, but he needs to hit that with his right foot. If he hits it with his right I think it’s a goal.”

With Arsenal’s exit, FC Salzburg will take part in the inaugural expanded 2025 Club World Cup after being awarded the last of the 12 places for European teams.

A place was previously reserved for this year’s Champions League winners, however, all four teams in the semifinals have already qualified for the Club World Cup, meaning the place has been reallocated. It goes to the best-performing club in the competition over the past four years who are not already in the competition.

Salzburg’s place was confirmed after Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Arsenal would have taken Europe’s last spot at the Club World Cup had they won this season’s Champions League.

Some of Europe’s biggest clubs were ineligible from being granted the place due to a two-club limit on teams from one country (unless more than two different clubs win the continental title, as is the case with Brazil.) Liverpool (7th), RB Leipzig (11th), Barca (12th), Napoli (15th), Sevilla (16th) and AC Milan (17th) were all ahead of FC Salzburg in the table but were locked out by other teams from their country.

FC Salzburg, only ranked 18th in the performance table, have featured in the group stages for the past four years and made the round of 16 in 2022.

Thirty-two teams will take place in the new Club World Cup, the first edition taking place in the United States. It will also feature six teams from South America, four from Concacaf, Africa and Asia and one from Oceania. The 32nd place is reserved for the host confederation, though it has yet to be announced how Concacaf will determine its additional fifth berth.

Ten of the 12 European places were already known before this week, with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona also competing for a spot. Both La Liga clubs were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday, meaning Atletico qualified as their four-year coefficient is higher than Barça’s and only one slot remained for a Spanish club.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid will be there as winners of the UCL in the qualifying period, 2020-21 through to 2023-24. Bayern, Paris Saint-Germain, Internazionale, FC Porto, Benfica, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Atletico take the coefficient places.

Twenty-three of the 32 teams are already known with the field to be completed by the end of the year.

The 32 clubs will be drawn into eight groups of four teams, with the top two teams going through to the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and final of the month-long tournament.



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