|Sasa Ognenovski came under fire from|
Korean coach Cho Kwang-Rae
Picture: Fox Sports
It’s by far the biggest game in the group stages of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and the result will go a long way to determining the hopes of both nations.
The mind games started as soon as the final whistle blew in their respective first matches.
, through Lucas Neill, was quick to assume the underdog status – a position it thrives in. Australia
"When it comes to the mobility of the players, our strikers are bit better than the Australian central defence," Cho said.
"(When) I was in charge of Gyeongnam, I intentionally put fast forwards in to make it difficult for Sasa.
"In these games I learnt Sasa had problems with quick forwards and I could make use of it."
It was a stinging comment given the Ognenovski was last year crowned AFC Player of the Year after a standout season as Captain of AFC Champions League winners Seongnam.
The battle between Koo Ja-Cheol, Korea’s two goal hero in the first game, and Ognenovski will be enthralling and could go some way to deciding the outcome of the game.
|Korea Republic Coach Cho Kwang-Rae|
If Ognenovski’s pace, or lack thereof, is considered a weakness by Cho, then one can only imagine what he thinks of
’s left-hand side. Australia
David Carney, admittedly a more natural left-midfielder, has struggled for
Australia in recent times, no doubt due to his lack of game time for Blackpool, and looked well off the pace for Australia against . India
He will come under attack from
’s right back who loves to get forward and help out his attack. It’s an area that Cha Du-Ri, Korea will need to tighten up considerably if they are to prevent attack after attack coming down the right. Australia
Equally as fascinating as the battle on the pitch, will be the battle off it.
Despite claims by Lucas Neill that the winner of this game will top the group, it’s not quite that simple.
In fact amazingly,
could win the game and still not finish in the top two. The presence of whipping boys Australia India makes the group wide open given that it is effectively a guaranteed three points for Australia, Korea and . Bahrain
Australia is to beat Korea 1-0, but lose to Bahrain in the final game, it needs to hope that Bahrain and Korea don’t give a hiding to as goal difference will then come into the equation. India
Bahrain and Korea both score 5 or 6 against India, a distinct possibility, an Australian loss to would mean they would finish third on goal difference. Bahrain
It’s a scenario that will have many scratching their head if it eventuates.
But before then, there is the small matter of
Australia vs to contend with and as the first six days of this AFC Asian Cup have shown, anything can happen. Korea Republic
Bring it on.