USA national team defender Omar Gonzalez is relishing the prospect of tangling with Copa Libertadores champions Gremio in the FIFA Club World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.
Gonzalez’s Pachuca side, the CONCACAF Champions League winners, eliminated their African counterparts Wydad Casablanca with a Victor Guzman goal in extra time to take their place opposite the Brazilians in the draw.
Gonzalez was brought on late in the game to shore up the Pachuca back line and helped his side seal a date in the semis. The prize for winning that game could be a final showdown against Real Madrid at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium next Saturday.
“We are looking forward to it,” he said “They’re a very good team to win Copa Libertadores. It’s a great accomplishment for anyone. They’re going to come here fresh off that win straight into the semis."
Pachuca, who also boast Keisuke Honda in their lineup, withstood plenty of Wydad pressure and the Moroccan side succeeded in unnerving the Central American champions thanks in part to their raucous support.
“We’re a pretty young team. We’ve got a lot of young players,” said Gonzalez. “There were a bit of nerves at the beginning. As the game went on we settled down find more of the ball, control the game.
“I thought we looked pretty strong throughout the 120 minutes.”
Real Madrid play either Al Jazira, the Arabian Gulf League champions, or Urawa Red Diamonds, who won the Asian Champions League, in the other semifinal on Wednesday.