A striking showdown with the semis in sight

The first FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2015 quarter-final pits Club America against Guangzhou Evergrande on Sunday. The CONCACAF and AFC champions, who have never faced off before and are both back in the competition for the second time, get their challenge underway with an extra-appetising carrot dangling in front of them: the chance to take on Barcelona in the semi-finals.

The match* Club America-Guangzhou Evergrande, Osaka Nagai Stadium, Sunday 13 December, 16:00 (local time)*

Club America, the most successful team in Mexican football history, arrived in Japan dreaming of becoming the first side from the country to reach the final and lift the trophy. To do so, they first have to get through their opening encounter, which would at least ensure they accomplish their minimum target of a top-four finish.

Spearheaded by the firepower of El Tri marksman Oribe Peralta and Argentina-born Dario Benedetto, Las Águilas (the Eagles) come into the tournament with a point to prove after recently being knocked out of the domestic Apertura championship in the semi-finals. They can, at least, take heart from the club's previous meeting with the Asian champions on the world stage: in 2006 they beat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-0 in the quarters.

The Chinese giants have reason enough to be confident of escaping the fate of the aforementioned side from Korea Republic. They boast a highly intriguing blend in their set-up, which is headed by the savvy, ever-ambitious Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, a renowned motivator. Indeed, they have the tools to pose a real test to the Mexicans, not least in the shape of a trio of the coach's compatriots: Paulinho, Ricardo Goulart and Robinho. All three were inspirational in the Southern China Tigers' dazzling AFC Champions League conquest only three weeks ago and the team are positively brimming with confidence, having lost just five times in 46 games so far in 2015.

The stat 4 – A digit that you will not find anywhere on the Guangzhou Evergrande kits, with the shirt numbers 4, 14, 24, 34 and so on not available to players. In Chinese culture, certain numbers are considered lucky or unlucky depending on the word to which they bear the closest resemblance when spoken aloud. Accordingly, four is viewed as a bad omen because it sounds extremely similar to the Chinese word for 'death'.

The words They're a very dangerous team who are really well coached by Mr Scolari. We know that they like to press hard in midfield and when the opposition try to bring the ball out, and they have several interesting players. It's not going to be an easy match: it'll be keenly contested and very tough for both sides." Club America coach Ignacio Ambriz

"Winners don't give up. My aim is the Club World Cup. Why shouldn't it be? I have a great team, a great club and great players. We can make this dream come true." Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari