River Plate have enjoyed a stunning revival under manager Gallardo.
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Lionel Messi is the most famous of a variety of characters at the Club World Cup which includes Auckland City's part-timers, former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and bunny-hopping Congolese goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba.While European champions Barcelona will be fielding Brazilian Neymar, Uruguayan Luis Suarez and Argentine Messi in a dream strikeforce, River Plate will have to make do with mainly journeymen professionals.Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Auckland City, a team largely made up of part-time professionals who last year reached the semifinals and took South American champions San Lorenzo to extratime, kick off the tournament Thursday.The winners will progress to the quarterfinals – of which there are two – where they will face TP Mazembe in Osaka Sunday with River Plate awaiting in the semifinals.The winners of that match meet Barcelona in the semifinal.
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