Socceroos raring for familiar foes South Korea

Anna Harrington |

Australia are excited ahead of their Asian Cup clash with South Korea, a repeat of the 2015 decider.
Australia are excited ahead of their Asian Cup clash with South Korea, a repeat of the 2015 decider.

Nine years after beating South Korea in the 2015 Asian Cup final, the Socceroos will relish a clash with their local rivals in the tournament’s quarter-finals.

Juergen Klinsmann’s side secured their spot in the final eight with a dramatic penalty shootout win over Saudi Arabia, teeing up a clash with Australia on Friday night local time (Saturday AEDT).

Wednesday was exactly nine years to the day since Australia’s brilliant triumph on home soil.

“Just looking forward to the occasion – a quarter-final,” skipper Mat Ryan, who was in goals that night, told AAP.

“We’ve obviously got a bit of a history against them in this tournament as well but very much looking forward to the challenge.

“They’re not not fond (memories) in the group stage where we lost to them but obviously the final where we got our revenge.

“So lots of great memories, but we want to repeat those great memories with obviously the win on Friday.

“We’re under no illusion that it’s going to be difficult game. They’ve got obviously plenty of quality up front, very technical team and obviously well organised as well.

“We’ve got to be on the top of our game to make sure we get the result.”

Mat Ryan.
Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan celebrates winning the 2015 Asian Cup decider in Sydney. (AP PHOTO)

Australia have played South Korea 30 times, winning 11, drawing 11 and losing eight.

Since Arnold took the reins in 2018, Australia have drawn 1-1 with South Korea in Brisbane in November of that year and lost 1-0 in Busan in June 2019.

“I heard the other day that it’s the opposition we’ve played second-most in history,” coach Graham Arnold said.

“Obviously they’re a very good side. They’ve got some great players that play in the Premier League and around Europe.

“But all we can do is focus on ourselves again, I know I keep saying it, but getting our training right today and tomorrow and being ready to go out there and give everything that we’ve got.

“Obviously there’s improvements for us to do and it’s time to tidy them up.”

Hwang Ui-jo.
South Korea’s Hwang Ui-jo celebrates scoring the winner last time out against the Socceroos. (AP PHOTO)

Australia will have had 53.5 hours more recovery time than South Korea heading into the quarter-final at Al Janoub Stadium, with the winner to face either Tajikistan or Jordan.

South Korea overcame a raucous pro-Saudi crowd at Education City Stadium and the Socceroos are happy to avoid that intimidating wall of noise.

“The major positive out of this is we won’t be playing in front of 50,000 Saudi Arabian fans that were incredible for Saudi Arabia last night.

“We won’t have that against us as well – so that’s one good part.”