ABU DHABI - Inter Milan, looking to
redress their shaky season with victory in the Club World Cup,
are being careful not to play up their status as favourites in
Saturday's final against TP Mazembe of DR Congo.
The African champions became the first team from outside
Europe and South America to reach the final when they upset
Internacional of Brazil 2-0 on Tuesday, consigning the South
Americans to the third-place play-off.
"In a final there are no favourites, especially in today's
football," captain Javier Zanetti told a news conference on
Friday at the match venue, the Zayed Sports City stadium.
"This one is very balanced, no one gives anything away. I
think in this match we start equal, it would be a mistake to
think we are favourites," he said before Inter's practice.
"It's a great opportunity to take Inter to the top of the
world. We know it will be difficult but we hope to play a great
match and win."
Inter are looking for their third world title after winning
this tournament's predecessor, the single-match Intercontinental
Cup played by the European and South American champions, in 1964
and 1965 after twice beating Independiente of Argentina.
Zanetti, who scored in the 3-0 semi-final win over Asian
champions Seongnam of South Korea on Wednesday, was bizarrely
asked if his always well-groomed appearance was for good luck.
"It doesn't bother me, only that in the end the team should
play well and win. After that, I could be the worst combed man
in the world, but nothing will change my joy," he said grinning.
Coach Rafael Benitez, whose job could be on the line if
Inter lose in the United Arab Emirates, said winning could set
his side up for a better remainder of the season after sinking
to seventh in Serie A.
"When a team has some difficulties, as in this case
especially with injured players, to win a top level tournament
is always positive and can help us to have a better second half
of the season," he said.
Inter will be without Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who
pulled a muscle in his left leg after only two minutes on
Wednesday, but Brazilian defender Maicon is fit to start.
Midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, Zanetti's Argentina team mate,
has won the world title before when he helped Real Madrid beat
Olimpia of Paraguay in 2002 in the Intercontinental Cup final.
Cambiasso said winning this tournament would mean more to
him having helped Inter, whom he joined in 2004, right through
their victorious Champions League campaign last season. He had
only just joined Real when they played the 2002 match in Japan.
"I was able to run the whole course with my team mates so
this one would have a more special flavour," he said.
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