Al Jazira exceeding expectations even before facing Real Madrid in Fifa Club World Cup semi-finals

Romarinho says few people expected Abu Dhabi side to reach last four - an achievement important for club and country

Romarinho is proud of his Al Jazira side ahead of their semi-final against Real Madrid. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Romarinho is proud of his Al Jazira side ahead of their semi-final against Real Madrid. Francois Nel / Getty Images

Romarinho has conceded that Al Jazira have already exceeded expectations ahead of their dream Fifa Club World Cup semi-final against Real Madrid.

The Abu Dhabi side, who have never before contested the event, take on the defending champions at Zayed Sports City stadium knowing they are considerable underdogs to reach the final.

Jazira will view making the last four as something of a bonus having already defeated New Zealand’s Auckland City in the play-off last week and then Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds, the reigning Asian champions, in the quarter-final on Saturday.

Romarinho has been integral to that run, scoring the only goal of the game against Auckland and then assisting Ali Mabkhout for the winner against Urawa. The Brazilian, 26, helped Corinthians seal the Club World Cup title in 2012, although he accepts a repeat with Jazira this week remains improbable.

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“It’s a big surprise,” he said. “Many people didn’t expect this to happen. Of course, we are very happy for this moment. We are happy because of the achievement. It is really important also for this country. We will try to do our best.”

Jazira’s team will no doubt again feature a number of youth-team products on Wednesday, with Mohammed Al Attas excelling in particular in the two matches thus far. Nominally a defender, the Emirati has shone at the base of the Jazira midfield.

“It’s a very young team, but it’s a team with quality,” Romarinho said. “And we hope we can show something tomorrow.”

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Updated: December 12, 2017 11:17 PM

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