Club America’s Paraguayan defender Miguel Samudio will be giving his all at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016, just as he always does. Both he and his Águilas team-mates have travelled to Japan with the firm intention of making history, an objective towards which they have already taken the first step by winning their opening match, a hurdle that proved insurmountable for them last year.
In overcoming their fears and releasing some of the pressure weighing on them, they have earned the right to enjoy themselves, especially as their next assignment, against Real Madrid at the International Stadium Yokohama on Thursday, is not so much a football match as a dream come true.
“The next match is a dream match. It’s the one game you all picture in your head when you’re a kid: coming up against Cristiano Ronaldo and the best in the world,” said a beaming Samudio, in conversation with FIFA.com. “First and foremost, I’m very grateful to God for this opportunity. Now we need to rest so that we can focus fully on this big match.”
Those feelings are pretty much shared by the rest of the America contingent in Japan, who can barely conceal their delight and excitement at the prospect of what for them is the match of the century, of their century. Currently celebrating their centenary season, Las Águilas could not imagine a grander occasion to mark the event.
The Mexican side had to suffer a little in setting up their rendezvous with the European champions. The kings of CONCACAF endured a nervy half hour in their second round match against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who took the lead in the first half. “The fact is, things got tricky for us because we thought more about attacking,” said the Paraguayan. “We knew how good they are at making triangular passing moves on the flanks, and we fell behind in pretty unfortunate fashion. We never lost hope, though. We knew it was up to us. We were focused and we knew we could turn it round, which is what we did.