Asian Cup: Australia take on South Korea for top spot
Heavyweights Australia and South Korea battle it out for top spot in Group A and a potentially kinder Asian Cup quarter-final tie when they clash in Brisbane on Saturday.
Brisbane: Heavyweights Australia and South Korea battle it out for top spot in Group A and a potentially kinder Asian Cup quarter-final tie when they clash in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Socceroos are flying after a 4-1 thrashing of Kuwait and another four-goal haul against Oman but the Koreans, one of the pre-tournament favourites, are a much tougher proposition.
Australia`s sizzling start has caught the imagination of the nation and coach Ange Postecoglou said ahead of their test against the Taeguk Warriors that his team were relishing the hype.
"If anything the expectations, the excitement around the team, is helping us," he told reporters, insisting that his players were keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
"They`ve risen from a very low base. They couldn`t have gone much lower than what we came into the tournament, so I don`t think the players are getting carried away."
A sell-out crowd of more than 50,000 is expected at Brisbane Stadium for the 07:00 pm (0900 GMT) match, with whoever topping the group likely to avoid defending champions Japan until the final.
It remains to be seen whether captain Mile Jedinak will be passed fit to play after missing the 4-0 victory over Oman, while South Korea have their own injury problems.
Inspirational midfielder Lee Chung-Yong left the tournament early with a hairline fracture in his right leg while a fever has afflicted several of coach Uli Stielike`s squad this week.
"I`ve waited every day for the past five days for the medical reports," said the German. "It`s like a pilot who is flying in the afternoon looking for the weather forecast -- every morning I`m sitting with our medical department.
"This makes it very difficult to prepare for our next game."
Oman and Kuwait kick off at 08:00 pm (0700 GMT) in Newcastle with nothing but pride at stake.