Five things you may not know about Kashima Antlers

Posted Friday, December 16, 2016 by

Five things you may not know about Kashima Antlers

Real Madrid have set up a Club World Cup final with little-known Japanese side Kashima Antlers, who have fought their way through the Oceanic, African, and South American champions having qualified as the host nation's top club.

A team with horns

The Ibaraki town of Kashima is known for millennia of raising deer as a spiritual animal, translating to the club's name and badge when it was founded in 1947, and re-founded as a professional outfit in 1992.

Never relegated

After 24 seasons of the J1 League, only Yokohama F. Marinos join the Antlers as the only side to have played in the top-flight for every campaign.

Japanese record holders

Currently the champions of Japan, Kashima have the most titles in J1 League history at eight and became the first club to win the domestic treble in 2000. They've even beaten the Copa Sudamericana holders twice, in the 2012 and 2013 Suruga Bank Championship.

Zico put them on the map

As football began to professionalise in the nation, Brazilian icon Zico arrived in 1991 and scored 45 goals in three years. Furthermore, he took charge of Kashima in 1999. Jorginho and Leonardo have also turned out for the Kanto club.

First Asian finalists

As the only side from their continent to have reached the Club World Cup final, Kashima are also the second host team to come up against their European rivals in the showpiece after Raja Casablanca of Morocco in 2013.

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