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Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012

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Man in charge: Corinthians coach Tite speaks to reporters during a Club World Cup news conference in Nagoya on Friday. At left is Corinthians player Emerson. AP

Excellent effort needed to win Club World Cup, Tite says


Nagoya — Corinthians coach Tite doesn't think Chelsea's recent form struggles will boost his team's chances of winning the Club World Cup.

European champion Chelsea and Copa Libertadores winner Corinthians have a bye into the semifinals of the tournament that features the champion clubs from FIFA's six confederations, plus a team from the host nation.

"In a tournament like this there are no favorites," Tite said Friday. "Past results won't determine who wins the tournament. You have to play a full 90 minutes and there is very little margin for error."

Chelsea, which was knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday, has also endured a run of seven games without a win in the Premier League, with three of those coming under Rafa Benitez, who replaced the fired Roberto Di Matteo last month.

Corinthians will play the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Egypt's Al-Ahly on Wednesday, while Chelsea will meet the winner of Sunday's other match between South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai and Mexico's Monterrey for clash on Thursday in Yokohama.

Chelsea qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the Champions League in May when striker Didier Drogba scored the decisive penalty in a shootout against Bayern Munich.

Corinthians, which won this tournament in 2000, defeated six-time champion Boca Juniors in the finals of the Copa Libertadores in July to advance to the tournament in Japan, which ends Dec. 16.

The South American champions have two players who have already won the title, left back Fabio Santos and midfielder Danilo. Both won with Sao Paulo in 2005 against a Liverpool side coached by Benitez.

Corinthians forward Emerson is returning to Japan after a five-year stint in the J. League, from 2000-05.

"I was living in a slum before I came to Japan," Emerson said. "I was really young so all the education I got, I got here in Japan. I learned how to respect people and they are masters at that here."

A team from South American hasn't won this tournament since Brazil's Internacional upset Barcelona 1-0 in the 2006 final.

"This team never gives up and we are always reaching for the top," Tite said. "The team is very strong and very well prepared and I feel we can go to the final and get the title."

Charity match in Sendai


Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo and veteran former Japan striker Masashi Nakayama will take part in a charity match on Dec. 26 at Sendai's Yurtec Stadium to support relief efforts for the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Pro-Footballers Association said Friday.

Nagatomo and Nakayama, who recently announced that this would be his last season as a player, will play for the Japan Stars against the Tohoku Dreams, whose squad will feature Vegalta Sendai players, including striker Shingo Akamine.

Ex-Japan midfielder Hiroshi Nanami will be the coach of the Tohoku Dreams, while Takafumi Ogura will be in charge of the Japan Stars.

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