Atlético Nacional traveled to Japan to represent South America in the decisive FIFA World Cup of Clubs. However, after a first-round loss to Kashima Antlers, their journey has come to a premature end. However the team will have the opportunity to compete for third place and the bronze against América de México.
Reeling from an unexpected loss, coach Reinaldo Rueda will try to turn the page quickly and get his team ready to play against the champion of Concacaf and quite possibly the best team in Mexico right now. América de México lost their bout with goliath Real Madrid in the quarter finals.
The trauma of losing to the Japanese champions still has not passed, but players know that they need this win to avoid an embarrassment. For that reason, Diego Arias declared not all is lost if the team can pull out this win.
“Here in Japan, all of football is represented, and the ability to represent all of South America is a blessing. We have a game on Sunday and we’re going to end this tournament in the best way possible. You have to enjoy the experience and try to win.”
For their part, the Aztecs suffered a heartbreaking loss to Real Madrid, giving up goals in extra time of both the first and second periods. It was a lack of concentration that beat them, coach Ricardo la Volpe said.
The players for América are confident that, on paper, they could have defeated the European champions, and that they should defeat Colombia’s best this weekend. The battle for third place will be the perfect occasion to prove it.