YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) - A defiant Gamba Osaka insist they are not afraid of Manchester United, but the Japanese team face a daunting task against the European champions in their Club World Cup semi-final on Thursday.
It will be one of the biggest games in Gamba's history, but they are handicapped by injuries to attacking midfielders Takahiro Futagawa and Hayato Sasaki, who were stretchered off during their win over Adelaide on Sunday.
A consolation is that United are also struggling, with Dimitar Berbatov sick with a virus and ruled out of the game, while Wayne Rooney is a doubt after picking up an injury in training.
Gamba captain Satoshi Yamaguchi believes they have what it takes to tame the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rooney, should he play.
"We have nothing to lose and we'll go all out, leave everything out there on the pitch," he said.
"We don't want to be thinking after the match that we should have done this and that, and as long as we're playing them, we'll play to win. But we need to make sure we don't play like we did against Adelaide."
In that game, the Asian champions were lucky to survive, with the influential Yasuhito Endo scoring the only goal.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson watched the match on DVD and pinpointed Endo as the danger man, along with their Brazilian striker Lucas.
"He is their star player," the Scot said of Endo. "Not only did he score the decisive goal, he was the influential player in terms of possession of the ball.
"He actually changed his position from where he normally plays behind the centre forward after they lost two players in the first 18 minutes and played towards the left-hand side. And it worked very well.
"Their Brazilian centre forward (Lucas) is also a very good player. He has quick feet and, unusually for a Brazilian, he is tall. He is a very effective player."
Ferguson, who has defended United's decision to make the long trip to Japan in mid-season, would not be drawn on his starting 11.
But he said veterans Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs would all play.
"They have played a lot of big games and their experience will be vital," he said, adding that Ronaldo was also a definite starter.
United are eager to win the tournament and add a new trophy to their collection, but Ferguson is aware that Japanese football has improved in recent years and he is not being complacent.
"I've experienced playing in Japan before. We played Urawa Reds twice and they were very difficult opposition because they played with great enthusiasm," he said.
"The improvement in Japanese football is obvious. There is a tremendous improvement in the organisation and team's abilities, so we're expecting a hard game on Thursday.
"Hopefully it is one we can win and go to the final."
Awaiting them in Sunday's final, should they win, will be either Ecuador's Liga de Quito or Mexico's Pachuca.
Despite United's superior skills, physical strength and experience, Gamba coach Akira Nishino suggested an upset was not just a dream.
Admitting his side's chances of creating an upset are "close to nil", Nishino said: "We will face them without fear."
"Tomorrow will be a great day for Gamba. We are ready to give 100 percent for the challenge tomorrow," he added.
The Club World Cup, first organised in its current format in 2005, is an extension of the Intercontinental Cup contested by European and South American champion clubs.
|Inter confirm Montoya capture|
|Murillo joins Inter, as Kuzmanovic and Obi depart|
|Falcao signing not a risk, says former Chelsea star|
|Deeney agrees new Watford deal|
|Confidence and service the key to Falcao success at Chelsea|
|No bids for ´Chelsea target´ Baba, claim Augsburg|
|Derby swoop for Ince|
|Fiorentina consider legal action over Salah ´no-show´|
|Chelsea the team to beat in the Premier League, says Neville|
|Storari exits Juve for Cagliari|
|UEFA removes FFP restrictions on Man City and PSG|
|West Brom hope for new owners within the month|
|Chelsea agree loan deal for Falcao|
|Kuyt eyes trophies on Feyenoord return|
|Chile v Argentina: History beckons ahead of Copa America final|
|Wallace extends Monaco loan|
|Mihajlovic wants to instill fear factor at Milan|
|Mignolet improving at Liverpool - Grobbelaar|
|Mumbai City name Anelka player-manager|
|Olivia the parrot predicts Japan to win Women´s World Cup|
|Lusitans coach blasts Bilic´s ´lack of respect´|
|Sakho eyes more Europa League wins|
|Gareca wants Peru to keep building|
|Chile ´no chance´ if Argentina produce their best - Diaz|
|Ocampos joins Marseille permanently|
|Europa League Review: Cloud-nine Brondby ignite opening round|
|West Ham 3 Lusitans 0: Sakho nets twice at start of Europa League journey|
|Holebas makes Watford move|
|Milan secure Adriano signing|
|Peru v Paraguay: Diaz counts cost of semi-final loss|
|Bastia hit out at reports of extra debt|
|Hernandez has successful surgery|
|Odemwingie signs one-year Stoke extension|
|Uth signs for Hoffenheim|
|Henen seals Everton return|
|Cattermole pens long-term Sunderland deal|
|United States v Guatemala: Klinsmann backs Dempsey ahead of Gold Cup warm-up|
|West Ham working on Jenkinson return - Gold|
|Milan agree deal for Bacca|
|Real buy back Vazquez from Espanyol|
|Richards leaves Swansea for Fulham|
|McShane signs for Reading|
|Giggs tells youngsters to seize US chance|
|Hammond pens Leicester extension|
|Only Schweinsteiger can decide Bayern future - Guardiola|
|Cech plans to play until he´s 40|
|Montoya arrives in Milan ahead of Inter move|
|Hernandez out of Gold Cup|
|US asks Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials|
|MLS Preview: Sounders seek momentum switch|
|Mexico 0 Honduras 0: Hernandez injury sours friendly|
|Hernandez taken to hospital|
|Garay in doubt for Copa America final|
|Wambach: USA peaking for World Cup final|
|Bassett ´an absolute hero´ despite own goal - Sampson|
|Japan 2 England 1: Late own goal breaks English hearts|
|Salvo quits as Valencia president|
|Costa not Ribery cover - Bayern director Sammer|
|Chile, Argentina deserve final spots - Mena|
|Ramos keen on United switch - Calderon|
|B36 1 The New Saints 2: Wilde leaves it late to secure advantage|
|Sevilla agree deal for Rami|
|Celtic snap up United teenager Janko|
|Beauvue passes Lyon medical|
|Roma bring in Falque|
|Coates completes permanent Sunderland switch|
|Vallecano to make charity donations from shirt sales|
|Angella commits to Watford|
|Gundogan pens new Dortmund deal|
|Juve reject €80million Barca offer for Pogba, says Marotta|
|Ruiz seals permanent Villarreal move|
|Mourinho respects Cech´s decision to quit Chelsea|
|Claridge excited by potential Pearson successors|
|Miranda completes Inter switch|
|Blind takes over as Netherlands coach|
|Mourinho: Premier League tougher to win than ever|
|Hamburg make Holtby move permanent|
|Southampton terminate Osvaldo contract|
|BREAKING NEWS: Swansea swoop for Eder|
|Abbiati extends Milan stay|
|Cruyff: Barcelona have lost their values|
|Vydra seals Watford move|
|Ambitious Clyne targets trophy haul with Liverpool|
|Claridge: Off-field incidents cost Pearson his job|
|Clyne becomes Liverpool´s sixth close-season signing|
|Imbula leaves Marseille for Porto|
|FIFA chief Blatter challenges critics to prove corruption claims|
|Distin joins Bournemouth|
|Bayern seal Costa deal|
|Arsenal confirm Diaby departure|
|Blatter to miss Women´s World Cup final|
|Bogdan sets sights on being Liverpool number one|
|Danilo eager to get started at Real Madrid|
|Leicester´s Wood joins Leeds|
|Porto confirm Atletico move for Martinez|
|Lloyd: Repetition key to netting penalty|
|Sheffield Wednesday job a ´dream´ for Carvalhal|
|´We played a complete game´ - Messi|
|Diaz upbeat despite heavy Copa loss to Argentina|
|Martino lauds Messi for selfless performance|
|Viviani makes surprise Verona switch|
|Estonian team wins cup match 31-0|
|No meeting with Arsenal has occurred - Vidal´s agent|
|United States 2 Germany 0: Ellis´ team reach World Cup final|
|Argentina 6 Paraguay 1: Messi leads Martino´s men to Copa final|
|UEFA Europa League Review: FK Zeljeznicar and FC Dacia Chisinau open with wins|
|UEFA Champions League Review: FC Pyunik make winning start|