Socceroos Ready for China in Asian Cup Quarter Final
January 20, 2015
After an unexpected loss to Korea Republic the Socceroos will be out for redemption in their quarter final clash with China. The knockout phase means there’s no more second chances and a loss will see Australia’s tournament end far too early. The host nation will revert back to its best eleven having rested some stars in the last group match which ultimately cost the Socceroos top spot in the group. And while Australia may be favourites to advance to the semi-final; China are unbeaten in the tournament and will want to remain that way.
China Won’t Break Easy
China are one of the form teams in the Asian Cup so far after completing a near perfect group stage. They topped Group B with 9 points having registered 3 wins from 3 games, something which looked unlikely midway through the opening match. After Saudi Arabia missed a penalty early in the second half penalty China converted a spot kick of their own late in the match to secure victory.
China showed steel in their second match coming from behind to beat Uzbekistan. Second half goals saw them turn a 1 nil deficit at the break into a 2-1 triumph. They won their final match against Korea DPR by the same score-line after Sun Ke scored a first half double.
Who the Socceroos Should Stop
He’s played little over 90 minutes in the competition but Chinse forward Ke has already scored 3 goals. He proved a super sub against Uzbekistan netting the winner 2 minutes after coming on before bagging a brace in a 70 minute spell against Korea DPR. Australia will need to be wary of his presence whether he starts the match or comes off the bench.
Captain courageous Zheng Zhi is one of his country’s all time greats. The 2013 Asian footballer of the year the main man in midfield. Whether he will be at full fitness for the quarter final remains in doubt after the skipper came off with injured in China’s final group game. However he has returned to training in preparation for Thursday night’s match.
Mile Makes Himself Available
Australian captain Mile Jedinak is also likely to start the match having missed the Socceroos last 2 games after injuring his ankle in their opener. Jedinak is a rock in the Aussie’s midfield; his strength, tackling pressure and all round leadership should inspire his side to a more assured performance than their last effort. The Crystal Palace skipper’s return will be one of many changes from Australia’s 1 nil loss to Korea Republic as the big names are brought back into the starting line-up. The men in green and gold still created plenty of opportunities in the defeat but couldn’t capitalise in front of goal; but with the likes of Tim Cahill and Robbie Kruse back in from the beginning, China need not give them a sniff. Mathew Leckie is another who’ll be feeling refreshed after playing a bit part on Saturday night.
A capacity crowd is anticipated at Suncorp Stadium and with a large Chinese community living in Brisbane support for both sides is expected to be strong. The reward for the winner is a semi final showdown with either Japan or the United Arab Emirates, while the loser will watch the rest of the Asian Cup.