Argentine club River Plate players attend a training session ahead of their Club World Cup semi-final soccer match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Osaka, western Japan, December 14, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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Unloved in Europe, the Club World Cup is still adored in South America where players regard the tournament as the pinnacle of their careers and clubs as the high point in their history.Thousands of fans of South American champions River Plate have been arriving in Japan over the last week, hoping their team can pull off a major upset and dethrone European champions Barcelona.River Plate, on the other hand, have coasted through the last few months since winning the Libertadores Cup, clearly with their minds on Japan, and arrived more than one week ahead of Wednesday's semifinal in Osaka against Sanfrecce Hiroshima, champions of the host nation.The tournament, featuring the six continental club champions plus national champions of the host nation, has existed in this form since 2005, having succeeded the Intercontinental Cup, a one-off played in Tokyo between the European and South American champions.
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