South Korea vs Australia, the dream rematch has actually come to fruition.
South Korea's 2-0 scoreline against Iraq flattered them; their defence and goalkeeper were very shaky. Had Iraq's strikers been 1 class above, those chances would have been put away and the contest could have easily gone to penalties. That being said, I am not of the view that Australia could necessarily have done any better - arguably. Still, Korea are a formidable threat. They will have plenty of fans on their side cheering them on.
Australia's 2-0 scoreline was unusual in that it saw 2 early goals within the first 15 minutes, both by defenders. I thought Sainsbury and Spiranovic (as well as the whole backline) played surprisingly well in terms of their defending against the dangerous Ahmed Khalil, Omar Abdulrahman and Ali Mabkhout (one or the other - I didn't actually take notice how many times each were stopped). However it appears to be the case, again, that Australia are over-reliant on static play or set pieces against tougher opposition. Their execution, possession and build up play was not as convincing in the second-half (but they had a few good chances on goal).
The Socceroos' game against South Korea will be markedly different because they are quality opponents. Australia may be able to score goals against lesser ranked sides but they have yet to prove they can score (and defend) comfortably against tournament favourites.
I am admittedly quite biased, wearing these green and gold goggles of mine, but I think Australia will win this one ever so slightly because of a few factors:
1) Home turf advantage
2) Revenge mentality for the group stage loss against South Korea (this could easily backfire - causing us to make risky plays for the sake of scoring a goal)
3) Attacking mentality (and the ball possession and passing/setup that comes with it)
4) Tim Cahill
Two Main Critical Factors that are AGAINST Australia:
1) Arguable, actual or perceived inability to score from open play against the big guns, in pressure games or those with better defence, in the absence of Tim Cahill not firing.
2) 'Dreaming defence' in critical moments for big matches, particularly against stronger teams.
If the positives can outweigh the negatives, the Socceroos should be able to pull home, but I can't say for certain as those negatives are quite significant. I believe they can win; this is their best chance to win an Asian Cup.
I'm looking forward to watching the game live at the stadium (the risk of buying tickets early paid off, phew!).
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