Nothing makes a coach and a team as squeamish as the idea that somehow they have an easy game ahead, and Internacional of Brazil find themselves in that ticklish territory as they go into the first semi-final of the 2010 Club World Cup tonight at 8pm at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
The global football community seemed to believe the South American champions caught a break when TP Mazembe of Africa beat Pachuca of Mexico 1-0 and moved into tonight's match, and Internacional last night seemed eager to play down expectations of an easy jog into Saturday's final.
"Some believe that the African team can be naive and without developed tactics, but we have found that is not true," Celso Roth, the Internacional coach, said.
However, Rafael Sobis, the forward conceded that most thought they would be playing Pachuca, not Mazembe. "It is a big surprise," he said. "But we still must go out and win a championship."
The weight of expectations already burdens South American sides, who like Europe, are seeded into the semi-finals. "We are very aware we are representing Brazil and South America," Roth said.
Mazembe have no plan to get out of Internacional's way. "We did not have a great match against Pachuca," said Lamine N'Diaye, the Mazembe coach."We look for a better one in this match. We did not come here to lose."
Both sides seem to expect a match of speed and skill, with Andres D'Alessandro leading the Internacional attack and Given Singuluma and Mbenza Bedi featuring for Mazembe.
"I don't think you can say we are lucky [to play Mazembe]," Roth said.
"Everyone who is here worked hard to get here."
8pm, Aljazeera Sport 2, +2, +8 and HD2
First round: Al Wahda 3 Hekari United 0;
Quarter-finals: TP Mazembe 1 Pachuca 0; Al Wahda 1 Seongnam 4
Tonight Semi-final: TP Mazembe v Internacional, 8pm, Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium
Tomorrow Fifth-place play-off: Pachuca v Al Wahda, 6pm, Zayed Sports City Stadium;
Semi-final: Seongnam v Inter Milan, 9pm, Zayed Sports City Stadium
Saturday Third-place play-off, 6pm, Zayed Sports City Stadium. Final, 9pm, Zayed Sports City Stadium