Football - Cech relishing Japan opportunity

Goalkeeper Petr Cech insists the Club World Cup is not an unwanted distraction for Chelsea.


The Blues arrived in Japan on Monday morning to prepare for their entry into the competition on Thursday, when they will take on Mexican side Monterrey in their semi-final in Yokohama.

With two wins from their last two games, including Saturday's victory over Sunderland, Chelsea finally appear to be coming into form and, with the busy Christmas schedule just around the corner, the trip to Japan could be seen as coming at exactly the wrong time.

Cech, though, sees it differently.

"I'm very happy to be here," the 31-year-old said on the club's website. "It means a lot for any player if you can play in such a great tournament.

"You only get your invitation when you win the Champions League, which isn't easy. I had to wait eight years to get the entry with Chelsea, so I hope we will make the most of it.

"Our last two results were very good, so we will try to carry that momentum into this tournament and we hope it will take us through."

Along with Copa Libertadores winners Corinthians, Chelsea go straight into the tournament at the last-four stage, with the champions of Europe and South America always favourites to meet in the final.

Cech, though, is taking nothing for granted against Monterrey, who beat Ulsan Hyundai 3-1 in their quarter-final on Sunday.

"We have to take it step by step," said Cech. "Monterrey have a slight advantage as they have been here and are acclimatised, they had a very good game, and will now face us on Thursday. We need to get as fit as possible as fast as possible, acclimatise and get used to the change in hours. I hope it's going to work and we are looking forward to the game."

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