A good match up means you have to finish well. You can't just fight for the first half and then coast because the other team will beat you. They came to fight the whole time and you'd be embarrassed if you let up early.
Running is like that. When I was training for the half, I would focus on halves. I knew if I could do the first half of any distance, I could talk myself into finishing. On the day I ran 7 miles for the first time, I knew that I'd be able to finish the half. That was an exciting day for me. The thing about finishing well is that most of the battle is mental. Whatever you do, whether it's running, playing a sport, writing a book, whatever, the battle is mostly mental. You have to believe in yourself and not listen to the doubts. You have to trust your training and not get caught up in the adrenaline fueled anxiety of the moment. If you get too excited at the beginning of a race, you'll start too fast and you won't be able to maintain that pace. You have to trust your training and your personal pace and focus on overcoming the fight against yourself and your doubts. It's not about beating the people around you--not for me at least--but it's about beating yourself and finishing well.