River Plate goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero believes the team’s recent experience in Japan will help them overcome Sanfrecce Hiroshima and reach the Club World Cup final.
The Argentinian club – winners of the competition under the guise of the Intercontinental Cup in 1986 – have bounced back from an historic relegation in 2010-11 to become one of South America’s top teams once more.
Marcelo Gallardo’s side qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the Copa Libertadores earlier this year, following on from their Copa Sudamericana triumph in 2014.
River also beat San Lorenzo in the Recopa Sudamericana, becoming the first team to hold all three continental titles at the same time.
However, it is their Suruga Bank Championship – a match held between the winners of the Copa Sudamericana and the J. League Cup – triumph, when they beat Gamba Osaka 3-0 in August, which Barovero feels holds them in good stead for Wednesday’s match.
“Hopefully we have a good game and we can beat [Sanfrecce]. That is the wish of everyone, to reach the final,” Barovero said.
“The team is excited to be at the Club World Cup. We are happy to be here and looking forward to a good game on Wednesday.
“[Sanfrecce] are a very organised team. Overall, they are similar to Gamba Osaka, who we had to face in the Suruga Bank Championship.”
Sanfrecce have already featured twice in the competition, eliminating Auckland City and CAF Champions League winners TP Mazembe without conceding en route to the semi-finals.
It is the Japanese side’s best performance in the tournament, having lost 2-1 to Al Ahly in the quarter-finals of the 2012 edition.
Two of their five goals in the competition have been scored by Tsukasa Shiotani, and the defender is keen for their run to continue.
“I think we are a stronger team than we were in our previous appearance,” he told FIFA.com
“We’ve developed into a team that can produce results, regardless of which players are on the pitch.
“We had a great year winning the J.League title, and now we’ve won two games at the Club World Cup.
“Sanfrecce has never reached this stage, and I’m determined to keep this momentum going as long as I can.
“River Plate is a very famous club with a history that everyone has heard of, even me. They are an amazing team, so I’m really looking forward to this game.”