Al Hilal become only the third Asian team to reach FIFA Club World Cup final -- so who did it before them?

Salem Al-Dawsari scored twice on Tuesday to help Al Hilal claim an impressive 3-2 win over Flamengo in the last four of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup, sealing their place in Saturday's final. AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy

With a thrilling 3-2 semifinal win over Flamengo on Tuesday evening, Al Hilal booked their place in the FIFA Club World Cup decider.

Salem Al-Dawsari's double from the penalty spot, along with a 70th-minute effort by Luciano Vietto which ultimately proved to be the winner, was enough to secure a famous victory.

Al Hilal will now await the result of the other last-four clash on Wednesday to find out who they will face in Saturday's final - although it is likely to be a dream tie against LaLiga champions Real Madrid, who are favourites to see off Al Ahly of Egypt.

Getting this far is in itself an achievement for the Saudi Pro League outfit given they had already seen off Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in their campaign opener before masterminding a shock triumph over Brazilian giants Flamengo.

The feat is however all the more remarkable considering only two other Asian representatives have qualified for the final previously.

Here, we look back at those couple of historic runs.

2016: Kashima Antlers (Japan)

Back in 2016, Kashima Antlers made history by becoming the first Asian team to ever make it to the final of the Club World Cup -- and they did so the arduous way.

As the host nation's representatives, rather than the reigning AFC Champions League winners, the J1 League team entered the tournament in the first round and even had to come from behind to grind out a 2-1 win over Oceania minnows Auckland City.

Nonetheless, it did not take long for the Antlers to find their groove as they saw off South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in the second round before masterminding an impressive 3-0 win over Colombian giants Atletico Nacional in the semifinals.

Come the final, it even looked as though a massive upset was on the cards when Kashima -- having fallen behind to Karim Benzema's early opener -- fought back to lead 2-1 early on in the second half courtesy of a Gaku Shibasaki double.

But it was ultimately not to be as a certain Cristiano Ronaldo equalised for Los Blancos on the hour mark from the penalty spot to take the game into extra-time, before completing his hat-trick to seal a 4-2 triumph for the Spanish side.

While Kashima ultimately failed to go all the way, several of their players used the platform to go on to achieve bigger and better things.

Not long after, playmaker Shibasaki earned a move to Spain, where he has since played for Tenerife, Getafe, Deportivo La Coruna and current club Leganes.

Defenders Gen Shoji and Naomichi Ueda also had spells in Europe while Yuma Suzuki -- then a precocious 20-year-old -- would go on to have a 17-goal campaign in the Belgian Pro League with Sint-Truiden in the 2020-21 season who netted in the semifinal win over Atletico Nacional, although he has since rejoined Kashima.

The Antlers would go on to win the ACL the following year to qualify for the 2018 Club World Cup, where they had to settle for a fourth-place finish after once again losing to Real in the semis -- falling to a Gareth Bale hat-trick on that occasion.

2018: Al Ain (United Arab Emirates)

With Kashima falling short in the semifinals of the Club World Cup in 2018, it was the turn of United Arab Emirates' Al Ain to shine.

Like their Asian counterparts did two years earlier, Al Ain entered the tournament at its earliest stage given their status as the host nation's representatives and also encountered some difficulty in seeing off Team Wellington 4-3 on penalties following a 3-3 draw in the first round.

A superb 3-0 victory over Tunisia's Esperance de Tunis in the next stage then set up a massive last-four encounter with Argentine giants River Plate.

Al Ain rose to the occasion as they took a third-minute lead and then came from behind to force a 2-2 draw before prevailing 5-4 in the shootout.

But once again, just like Kashima before them, Al Ain were just unable to overcome the massive obstacle that was Real as they succumbed to a 4-1 loss in the final.

Al Ain's achievements at that year's Club World Cup were all the more impressive considering they did so without former star man Omar Abdulrahman, who for so long was regarded as Asia's answer to Lionel Messi but who had by then signed for Al Hilal on loan.

Instead, it was foreign stars Marcus Berg, Caio and Tsukasa Shiotani who led the charge, along with established Emirati stalwarts such as goalkeeper Khalid Eisa, defenders Mohamed Ahmed and Ismail Ahmed, as well as midfielder Mohamed Abdulrahman.