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Regional champion Monterrey has hands full vs. Chelsea

Dec 12, 2012, 9:06 AM EDT

Cesar Delgado

History is not on CONCACAF’s side in the ongoing FIFA Club World Cup. Neither, apparently, are the charms of good luck.

Not only will CONCACAF champion Monterrey have to face European Champion Chelsea later tonight in the tournament’s semifinal, they catch the Blues at a bad time.

Chelsea finally got its first win under (already-embattled?) new manager Rafa Benitez over the weekend against Sunderland. So the West London side traveled into Japan with a little less baggage, figuratively speaking.

Good for Chelsea – but perhaps less so for Los Rayados.

And about that history? No CONCACAF team has advanced to the FIFA Club World Cup final. This is the tournament’s ninth version.

Monterrey manager Victor Manuel Vucetich and his team advanced into the semifinals with a 3-1 win over South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai. Here’s what Cesar Delgado (pictured), Monterrey’s Argentine forward, said about the coming match:

It’s a big responsibility to be playing Chelsea but we know we can spring a surprise,” he said, before setting out the objective he believes Monterrey are entitled to aspire to in the next few days: “We hope to reach what would be a historic final, and we don’t care who we have to face, whether it’s Chelsea or anyone else. If you want to be the champions, you have to beat everyone, don’t you? And that’s what we want to do: to surprise people, reach the final and win it. That’s what we’re here for.”

More is here from FIFA’s official site.

More on Los Rayados win over Ulsan Hyundai is here.

The contest is technically Thursday morning, at 4:30 a.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel. But as I like to say, “That’s what DVR is for.”

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