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Australia vs South Korea

Asian Cup Finals 2015 - Group Stage, Match 3
Australia vs South Korea
at Brisbane Stadium on 2015-01-17T09:00:00
Score: 0-1 (0-1)
Official Info: AFC Details
Previous Match: Australia vs Oman
Next Match: China vs Australia

So much to talk about before the match had even started. South Korea were sitting in second place and certain of a spot in the quarter-finals after two narrow 1-0 wins. There were some questions around their performance. Were they struggling? Was their injury / illness list affecting them? Or where they playing a clever game and pacing themselves for six matches in three weeks?

The match was a sell out and the crowd was just shy of 50,000. The pitch was very poor for an international, but both teams would have to deal with it. Both teams were wearing their away strip, Korea by choice it seems. Moths had descended on the stadium - drawn by the lights no doubt - adding a peculiarly Australian feel to the match.

Postecoglou was keeping his powder dry and leaving his top three front men on the bench. This is a sensible precaution as there's (hopefully) a few games to go. What impact would this have? I anticipated the same attacking mindset.

The match got underway and it was immediately clear we were up against a better team than our last two matches. As the match played out, we saw a wonderful defensive effort from the Koreans. It was top quality. Time and again, the crucial tackle or intercept was made to shut Australia down. We were going to have to work for it.

A defensive lapse by Australia was brilliantly exploited by the Koreans to give them the first goal of the match. We lifted our workrate but the we went into the break 0-1 down.

The second half was intense. Tempers flared on both sides. Australia gave it everything and the Koreans, some of them seemingly out on their feet, hung on. We brought on our big guns and they had an impact, but we couldn't find the equaliser.

So now we have some answers, of sorts, to the questions posed after our past two matches. We have definitely improved but we're not the finished product yet. That said, our full strength team will be hard to beat in the quarter finals. Winning the tournament looks slightly out of reach, but if we were to make the final, at home, you never know. Longer term it looks very promising. There are many young players who appear to have bright futures ahead of them.

Our path to the final has become more complicated by failing to top our group. Our quarter-final will be in Brisbane, on the poor pitch, against China. A tough match, but I think we will win. Assuming that, we'll be off to Newcastle for a semi-final, probably against our mortal enemy Japan. That could be a bridge too far. We'll see.