South Korea ready for aerial bombardment

DOHA - South Korean coach Cho Kwang-rae is preparing his side for an aerial bombardment from Australia when the two AFC heavyweights clash in Group C of the Asian Cup.

South Korea were impressive against Bahrain in their opening 2-1 victory but face a far stiffer task when they play the best ranked side in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Friday.

"I have emphasised the importance of the organisation in the defensive areas especially the flanks to stop the crosses," Cho told reporters on Thursday.

"Even if we are a bit shorter than the Australian guys it is important to get the right timing and positioning for the aerial ball."

After a disappointing tournament debut four years ago following confident predictions, Australia have been keen to play down expectations in Qatar.

Their German coach Holger Osieck kept his cards close to his chest Thursday, refusing to confirm Cho's prediction that the Socceroos would attack the twice champions down the flanks.

"I'm amazed he (Cho) knows my team better than I do so maybe I will double check with him at the hotel and get some tips and some information from him," Osieck joked when asked whether Australia would play with width.

"It is no secret that the Korean team is a very, very high hurdle. They are strong but we are strong so we will see who will be better on the day.

"We know about individuals in their team and their quality. We have our plan already. But if I look at my team, we also have quality players and it will be interesting to see who is in the best form tomorrow."


Australia enjoyed an easy afternoon when they thrashed India 4-0 in their opening match and while both teams should qualify no matter what the result on Friday, victory for either would be a significant boost to their confidence.

Australia will wear black armbands in respect for the people who have died in the Queensland floods.

Socceroos' captain Lucas Neill revealed five members of the 23-man squad have links to the affected area and had been calling home and checking the internet for updates.

"Everyone will be focused on the job at hand tomorrow. We want to win even more," he said.