The 2018-19 season has entered its final stretch and unsurprisingly, the preparations for the succeeding season have begun in full swing.
Over the years, several teams have toured foreign lands in order to enjoy a good pre-season bar the pressure of their home environment. However, none of these games were looked upon with much enthusiasm. Yet, the inception of the International Champions Cup (ICC) has changed all of that.
Into its seventh edition, the ICC has brought numerous top-drawer teams under the same umbrella with sides going at each other even before the season has started proper. Moreover, the incentive of winning the first trophy of the year has enabled the matches to be a lot more than just glorified sparring sessions.
The 2019 installment will see 12 teams namely Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, AS Roma, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Inter, Benfica, Atlético Madrid, and Chivas de Guadalajara.
The cities entrusted with holding the blockbuster ties include New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Houston, Boston, Kansas City, Charlotte, Chicago, Santa Clara, California, Arlington, Texas, London, Cardiff, Stockholm, Singapore and Shanghai.
The matches are being hosted in three different continents. Thus, highlighting the global outreach of the ICC.
The format of the tournament stipulates that each team would play three games and the side with the maximum cumulative points would be crowned champions.
For every victory, a team would be awarded three points whereas matches that end all square after 90 minutes would go straight to a penalty shoot-out. In such cases, the team ending up on the winning side after the shoot-out would be handed two points while the losing team would get a solitary point.
Thus, the games make for a result-oriented approach with plenty of potential drama courtesy the frequency of spot-kick contests.
ICC would commence on the 16th of July with the last game being played on the 10th of August.
Through the course of the tournament, there are countless high-profile match-ups lined up.
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are set to play their first Madrid Derbi outside Europe while the former also clashes swords with Arsenal. The latter, on the other hand, would get an opportunity to avenge its recent Champions League exit as it faces Juventus on the 10th of August.
Manchester United, meanwhile, would clash swords with AC Milan and Inter Milan in addition to local rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.
Hence, the mouth-watering clashes make for an intriguing watch and the ICC is a competition one should definitely not miss.
Here is the complete schedule of the tournament:
Tuesday, July 16:
AS Roma vs. Chivas de Guadalajara – Chicago, SeatGeek Stadium
Wednesday, July 17:
Arsenal vs. FC Bayern – Los Angeles, Dignity Health Sports Park
Saturday, July 20
Manchester United vs. Inter – Singapore, National Stadium
Arsenal vs. AS Roma – Charlotte, Bank of America Stadium
FC Bayern vs. Real Madrid – Houston, NRG Stadium
Benfica vs. Chivas de Guadalajara – Bay Area, Levi’s Stadium
Sunday, July 21
Juventus vs. Tottenham Hotspur – Singapore, National Stadium
Tuesday, July 23
Real Madrid vs. Arsenal – Washington, D.C, FedExField
FC Bayern vs. AC Milan – Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium
Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Atlético de Madrid – Arlington, Texas, Globe Life Park in Arlington
Wednesday, July 24
Juventus vs. Inter – China, Location TBD
AS Roma vs. Benfica – Tri-State Area, Red Bull Arena
Thursday, July 25
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United – Shanghai, Hongkou Football Stadium
Friday, July 26
Real Madrid vs. Atlético de Madrid – Tri-State Area, MetLife Stadium
Sunday, July 28
AC Milan vs. Benfica – Boston, Gillette Stadium
Saturday, August 3
Manchester United vs. AC Milan – Cardiff, Principality Stadium
Sunday, August 4
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Inter – London, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Saturday, August 10
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Atlético de Madrid vs. Juventus – Stockholm, Friends Arena