Tottenham Hotspur are faced with a difficult start to their defence of the International Champions Cup as they face Italian giants Juventus at the National Stadium in Singapore.
The match, on Sunday, July 21, will see the 2018 champions face one of the best teams in Europe, as well as a side who won the Australia leg of the 2016 International Champions Cup.
That edition of the competition saw the only other meeting between these two sides in ICC history. In fact, it was Spurs’ very first match in the International Champions Cup, but Juventus weren’t going to go easy on them.
Paolo Dybala and Mehdi Benatia scored in the opening 15 minutes to give the Serie A side a 2-0 lead Tottenham couldn’t overcome. Erik Lamela pulled one back in the 67th minute, but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.
The next time the sides would meet turned out to be in the knockout rounds of last season's UEFA Champions League in what proved to be a goal-laden pair of matches.
The first leg finished 2-2 in Turin, with Juventus again racing into an early 2-0 lead. This time it was Gonzalo Higuaín doing the damage, scoring twice in the first ten minutes.
However, Tottenham had now been in this situation before and rallied. Harry Kane scored in the 35th minute and Christian Eriksen got the equaliser in the 71st, levelling the tie and giving Spurs two important away goals to take back to Wembley a fortnight later.
The second leg started well for Tottenham, with Heung-min Son giving the Premier League side the lead at half-time. However, Higuaín and Dybala, returning to score against Spurs once again, turned things around for Juventus to send them through to the quarter-finals.
This summer, Tottenham have a score to settle and a crown to defend.
The North Londoners have emerged, in recent years, as a force in English and European soccer. Smart squad-building and astute management from highly thought of coach Mauricio Pochettino has seen them climb the ranks and they’re now a side able to compete with the very best in Europe.
Their history stretches back a long way, though. Tottenham won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1962/63, and the UEFA Cup in 1971/72 and 1983/84. They also have two league titles and eight FA Cups to their name, twice managing to get back-to-back FA Cup titles (in 1960/61 and 1961/62, and 1980/81 and 1981/82).
Juventus, meanwhile, have 36 league titles – more than any side in Italy – and look certain to add to that number this season. They add to this two European Cup and Champions League triumphs, 13 Coppas Italia, two FIFA Intercontinental Cups and three UEFA Cups.
This summer the two sides will debut at the International Champions Cup Singapore, having previously played in the United States or Australia.
Although Tottenham have only faced Juventus once in this competition, two of the three sides they faced last summer were fellow Serie A sides. Spurs beat both of them; a convincing 4-1 win over AS Roma in San Diego, CA, and a tighter 1-0 victory over AC Milan in Minneapolis, MN.
It will be a clash of champions at the National Stadium in July, and only one of these two fine teams can come away with the win.