Palmeiras tries to take its biggest step and break Chelsea’s favoritism at the World Cup

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Only one step is left for Palmeiras to achieve their big dream and win the World Cup. The final step is the most difficult, however, and no South American has achieved the feat in nearly ten years.

Overcoming the European champion, for coach Abel Ferreira, is equivalent to climbing a mountain. That’s what the alviverde players will try to do starting at 1:30 pm (GMT) this Saturday (12), at the Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium, in Abu Dhabi, against Chelsea, in a game broadcast by Band and Bandsports.

It belongs to the winner of the Champions League, given the recent history, the favoritism in bookmakers. However, Chelsea was the last representative of Europe to fail in the intercontinental tournament, in 2012, and the performance of the finalists in the round that preceded the decision made those who support the Brazilian team more optimistic.

Palmeiras prevailed over Al Ahly, from Egypt, on Tuesday (8), beating the African champions by 2-0 and advancing to the final duel without major scares. Chelsea, on the other hand, defeated Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia, by the minimum score and suffered enough to hold the result against the Asian champions.

For some of the athletes from Alviverde, who followed the hard-earned triumph of the English team on a big screen, there was a feeling that reaching the top of the mountain is a realistic goal. The London team offered spaces on the sides of the field and also on counterattacks, something that the South American champion intends to explore.

“We work on a tactic to be able to surprise. I think we will surprise, yes, and emerge champions,” said midfielder Danilo, excited by the presence of Palmeiras fans in the United Arab Emirates. The organization of the World Cup released the sale of the stadium’s total ticket load, with a capacity for 40 thousand spectators.

“Don’t take them all! We’ll need you fresh to help Palmeiras”, joked Abel Ferreira, shortly after having commanded the last training session to prepare for the decision, held on the match’s stage. The lineup will be the same used against Al Ahly, but the expectation is that left-back Piquerez will be positioned as a defender.

Coach alviverde asked his players for mental strength, as he did in the key moments that took the team from São Paulo to the World Cup. It was like that in the victories over Atlético-MG and Flamengo in the Copa Libertadores and in the semifinal triumph in Abu Dhabi. All this just to get to the foot of the mountain.

“It’s been a long time since a team from South America won. This demonstrates the size of the mountain we have to climb. But we believe that we can do it, that we will win and play a great game”, said the coach, trying to put aside the fact. that Chelsea have a much greater investment capacity.

“If we’re going to get into financial matters, we’re out. So, let’s get into what we’re good at: courage, courage, courage with the ball to impose our game, dribble, dribble, give more than one touch. peace to put everything at the service of the collective. It is to combine talent with work, because then victory is certainly closer”, concluded Abel.

On the other hand, unlike what happened in the semifinals, Chelsea will have Thomas Tuchel on the bench. After having watched the triumph over Al Hilal from a distance because of a positive test for Covid-19, the German coach had a negative test and arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Friday (11).

Tuchel should stick to the 3-4-3 model used normally, although there are some doubts in the lineup. Mendy is the first-choice goalkeeper, but Kepa did very well in the previous game, as the position’s owner returned from the African Cup of Nations, and can be kept. In midfield, Kanté, reserve in his debut, has a chance to gain space.

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