Asian Cup Preview: Australia v South Korea

Australia will play the Korea Republic at Brisbane Stadium on Saturday January 17 at 8pm AEDT.

Two wins from two and a 100% record has guaranteed that both of Group A’s heavyweights will each partake in a quarter-final bout.

Top spot beckons for the hosts and an easier route through the knockout stages if they can avoid defeat.

The higher ranked Koreans, who have arguably underperformed so far will be looking to have a say about that. Shaun Moran predicts what this colossal affair will deliver.


Played 29: Australia 11 wins, Korea Republic 9 wins, 9 draws

Asia’s two regular standouts have seldom locked horns since Australia’s move to the confederation.

They have not played on Australian shores in this millennium and as such it is difficult to gauge whether the Socceroos will have the same sort of advantage they have asserted against other Asian teams when playing on home soil.

A dour 0-0 played out at the East Asian Cup in 2013 that saw neither team field a fully-fledged outfit ensures that history provides us with precious little as to what to expect on Saturday.

The Game

Australia’s aggressive set-up has been instrumental in their dominance all over the park in their preceding two matches.

Ange Postecoglou has a number of selection headaches – and good ones at that. The rule needs to be run the rule over Mark Milligan, Matt McKay, Jason Davidson, Mile Jedinak, James Troisi and Aziz Behich respectively to determine their future involvement.

A passing game within the 4-3-3 will be utilised again in an attempt to part the Korean rear-guard and put the same sort of goal-mouth pressure that has helped them accumulate eight goals.

Korea will likely put their faith once more in Uli Stielike’s favoured 4-2-3-1. The experienced Cha Du-Ri’s assist against Kuwait puts him in poll position to occupy the right back once more.

They will be keen to use the left and right hand sides to whip balls into the area in between the occasional long ball, which they will hope will be able to catch the Australian centre-backs unaware.

The ruthlessness in the front third that has evaded them up until this point will be essential this time round in order inflict some scoreboard pressure.

The big issue:

Korea’s tempo

A shift in the Taeguk Warriors' rhythm has directly correlated with the ease in which they have dealt with teams thus far.

Ball retention and the slow movement of it made for a stagnant and apathetic display against Oman and Kuwait.

This ultimately resulted in the Gulf sides setting up defensively and foiling what Korean forays came their way, while also allowing them to counter with speed and almost bringing about their downfall on a number of occasions.

In contrast, a lively and peppy Korea which surged forward swiftly was unmistakeably more ominous.

Australia’s lithe midfield and attack will continue the pattern of troubling the Koreans if they cannot adapt and learn the lessons from their first two affairs.

They would be better served flying forward with speed and nimbleness, which could see them get at the inexperienced and largely untested Australian defence.

The game breaker

Someone most Australian football fans knew very little about two years ago, Massimo Luongo has been a revelation for individual and country. The burgeoning play- maker has stolen the limelight thanks to the sort of confidence and maturity on the ball seen by players of a much older vintage.

Luongo’s man-of-the-match showing in the curtain-raiser was then seconded with another telling shift in Sydney as he was influential in creating three of the game’s four goals.

Swindon Town’s midfield dynamo was taken off by Ange Postecoglou 50 minutes in – suggesting that he will have an influential role to play going forward.

Korea’s well organised team, who are yet to concede a goal will need to be on its guard to thwart the enigmatic Sydney-born youngster.


The ask gets tougher for Ange Postecoglou’s charges who have risen to every occasion.

Korea’s paced start has not thrilled – but it will matter little if they can trump the Australians in front of what should be a capacity crowd.

Creating and finishing has been markedly superior on the part of the Socceroos and if the young squad can hold their nerve, they should have the artillery at their disposal to take care of their highly-rated opponents.

Australia 2 Korea Republic 1