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 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 12: 99: World Club Championship
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Sunday, 2 January, 2000, 20:39 GMT
Man Utd determined about Brazil trip

Giggs, Butt and Yorke Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Dwight Yorke prepare for take-off

The Manchester United squad have travelled to Brazil to compete in the inaugural World Club Championship.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team are without injured midfielder Paul Scholes, but despite earlier comments the United manager insists his side are taking the competition seriously.

World Club Championship
The club's decision to pull out of the FA Cup to compete in world governing body Fifa's new competition in Brazil caused controversy.

Many critics see the tournament as unnecessary and unrepresentative because four of the eight teams are not current champions of their respective continents.

Ferguson himself has repeatedly voiced concerns over what effects playing in the withering heat of the Brazilian summer will have on his stars.

But as he left for South America, he was anticipating a major event.

"You tend to think if Fifa have a hand in something then they are going to make it a bit different and make it a bit special," said the United boss.

"I hope that's the case because it could turn into a very important tournament."

Paul Scholes Paul Scholes stayed at home as United flew out
England international Scholes failed a fitness test and is now expected to have surgery for his hernia injury.

Youngster Mark Wilson has been called into United's squad as a replacement.

Should United reach the final, they are expected to play four games in the space of just nine days.

The first match is on Thursday against the Mexican champions Rayos del Necaxa.

The match against main group rivals Vasco da Gama of Brazil is on Saturday.

That game should determine who goes through to the final.

Brazilian clubs

Ferguson believes Vasco are better than Palmeiras, whom United beat in the Toyota Cup in Tokyo.

"I think Vasco da Gama are a very good team," he said.

"I think they are just a little bit ahead of Palmeiras this season, although over the last two or three seasons they have been much the same."

Ferguson believes their likely opposition in the final will be the second Brazilian team, Corinthians, who won the 1998 national championship.

"I think the other group will boil down to Corinthians and Real Madrid," he said.

"It will be between the two of them, and I think it will be Corinthians."

United take a break from Premiership action while they are in South America but Ferguson is confident that United will be able to cope with a backlog of games when they return.

"It tends to be always the case that we are chasing games and we always seem to have a backlog of games at the end of the season," he said.

"They handled it in the past, and let's hope they can handle it again."

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