In what should prove to be an exciting encounter for both fans on opposite ends (and the spectating neutral), Australia will come up against what is probably their hardest test thus yet in the group stages when they take on two time former Asian Cup champions South Korea. There’s a lot at stake for both teams as a win will secure either team’s passage into the knockout stages of the tournament, while the looser will have to see how results come to fruition with the group’s remaining games.
Coming from a convincing 4 – 0 win over India in Group C’s, the Socceroos will have it all to do when the face a strong South Korean side who, with a win over the Socceroos, can secure their passage into the knockout stages of the Asian Cup. Although India showed a lot of courage, they were in reality a few classes below the “new found attack prowess” of the men in the Green and Gold. The combination of Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill leading the attack reaped great dividends, as the Australian midfield fed and supplied the back of the Indian net with an abundance of goals. While the Australian defence had next to nothing to do during their encounter with the Bhangra Boys, it can be said that they were found wanting when India did manage to produce a few counter attacking opportunities. This will be severely tested against the speed and agility of South Korea, who are known for the high work rate and their speed within the midfield. Though Australia possess the physical strength and height (thanks to players such as Sasa Ognenovski and Tim Cahill) to out muscle their opponents, this proved to be the opposite as the last time these two sides met, South Korea came out as convincing 3 – 1 victors.
Although defeating fellow knockout stage hopefuls Bahrain 2 - 1, the Taeguek Warriors were given a run for their money as it turned out that the men from the Gulf were no easy beats. The South Koreans tasks will be made just that much harder as starting centre-back Kwak Tae-Hwi was shown a straight red and given his marching orders after conceding a late penalty. Many Manchester United fans and football enthusiasts will recognise a familiar face as inspirational leader and team captain Park Ji-Sung looks to further galvanise a strong midfield, all the while using fellow English Premier League player Lee Chung-Yong of Bolton Wanderers fame on the right wing. Known to be lightning quick on the break, Lee will be hard to shut down along with the rest of the Korean attack with the Socceroos needing to sure up their defences if they are to withstand the quick feet of the men from the East.
A great, attacking game should ensue with not only both sides having a lot riding on the outcome of this game, but the makeup of the entire Group C. A win will see the victor progress, while the looser will be sweating results elsewhere.
By Marcel Abboud - (Facebook Follower) - Football Correspondant