They are a late addition to the tournament. Replacing Serie A competitors AS Roma, ACF Fiorentina will feature in the 2019 International Champions Cup. AS Roma, who had to withdraw from the competition because of their UEFA Europa League qualification obligations, ACF Fiorentina will face Chivas de Guadalajara, Arsenal and SL Benfica.
Regarded as one of the top clubs in Italian football, a group affectionately known as La Viola (Italian for The Purple One), Fiorentina has won both Italian and European championships.
Chivas de Guadalajara - July 16, 2019 | SeatGeek Stadium - Bridgeview, IL
It is perhaps the most exotic matchup at this tournament, and it will be the 2019 ICC opening match. Furthermore, it is a game with a clean slate - the clubs have never met. July 16’s meeting between Fiorentina and Chivas at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview will be one to remember.
Chivas will be only the second Mexican team to take part in the International Champions Cup after Club América played four games in the 2015 tournament.
In fact, Chivas de Guadalajara bring plenty of history to the match despite never having faced Fiorentina. Similar to Athletic Club Bilbao, who only field players born in the Basque region, the Liga MX side is famous for only fielding Mexican-born players.
One would think that historically that would have limited the club’s progress. But Chivas, together with América from Mexico City, are the two biggest clubs in Mexico. Chivas have won 12 league titles and the CONCACAF Champions League on two occasions.
Arsenal - July 20, 2019 | Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, NC
There might not be much history between Chivas Guadalajara and Fiorentina. ACF Fiorentina have some competitive history against this year’s Europa League finalist Arsenal.
In fact, fans of La Viola will have positive memories when it comes to the Gunners. The two clubs met in the group stage of the 1999/00 Champions League. Drawn in Group B together with Barcelona and Swedish side AIK Solna, Fiorentina were held 0-0 by Arsenal on Matchday 1.
While Barcelona were quickly running away with the group lead, Arsenal and Fiorentina faced off for a second place at Wembley Stadium, which the Gunners had to use because the old Arsenal stadium Highbury no longer met Champions League standards.
The Wembley curse, like it would be the case for Tottenham Hotspur a decade later, would hit Arsenal hard as Fiorentina won the match 1-0 thanks to a Gabriel Batistuta goal and ultimately advanced to the next round.
Benfica – July 24, 2019 | Red Bull Arena - Harrison, NJ
Finally, Fiorentina will face Portuguese champions Benfica and promising young star João Félix at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The two teams last met each other at the 2015 International Champions Cup where Fiorentina beat Benfica 5-6 after penalties.
But it is another result against Benfica that La Viola fans will remember more fondly. In 1997 the two teams faced one another in the quarterfinals of the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
Goals by Francesco Baiano (45’) and Batistuta (90+1’) secured Fiorentina a 2-0 road victory in the first leg. With a two away goal cushion, Fiorentina headed back to Italy where Edgar Pacheco took the lead in the 22 minutes into the match.
With the lead halved, Benfica pressed for the remainder of the game. In the end, Fiorentina’s defence held and La Viola advanced to the semifinals of the Cup Winners’ Cup where they were eliminated by Barcelona (1-1, 0-2).