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Asian Cup Preview: Australia v South Korea

Two of the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) most eye-catching football nations going for broke in a cracking contest of full-throttle, attacking football.

A night of high drama looms at a stadium that has hosted its fair share of sporting theatre.

Ever since they were toppled 1-0 by Korea in the group stage at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium you got a sense Postecoglou and his troops were desperate for another crack at the Taeguk Warriors. They now have that chance for revenge.

Both sides came through their semi-finals quite comfortably and unscathed, with the Koreans enjoying the benefit of an extra day's rest to prepare.

Australia accounted for United Arab Emirates 2-0 on Tuesday, while Korea downed Iran by the same scoreline a day prior.

The fitness of Ivan Franjic, however, looms as a key for the Socceroos. If the Torpedo Moscow right-back is ruled out then Postecoglou will be forced into a big decision or two.

Does he throw midfielder Mark Milligan into a defensive position he has not played in a number of years and bring either Matt McKay, James Troisi or Mark Bresciano into the middle of the park?

The other option is to split up the strong central defensive pairing of Trent Sainsbury and Matthew Spiranovic by shifting the former out to the right and promoting experienced centre-back Alex Wilkinson - himself a star in the K-League.

Of course all this depends on Franjic's powers of recovery - it is a huge decision for the Australian boss and could be decisive in the outcome.

Especially with Korean attackers Son Heun-min, Nam Tae-hee and Lee Jeong-hyeop getting stronger with every match at the tournament.

The midfield battle will also be key. While skipper Mile Jedinak provides a fearsome presence in the middle of the park, Korean skipper Ki Sung-yueng is just as influential.

Ki sets the tempo for Korea and his passing – both short and long – organisational skills and quality are crucial for Uli Stielike's outfit.

Having not won the continental title since 1960, Korea and the whole country will see this as an opportunity they simply cannot let slip.

But this is also a rare chance for the Socceroos, who lost in the final four years ago. Winning an Asian Cup – a major international piece of silverware – in front of their adoring home fans is an opportunity so rare they must grab it with both hands.

Whatever happens, game 32 of the Asian Cup is shaping as a fitting finale to a most beautiful three weeks of football in Australia.