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Socceroos’ Defensive Test: From Messi to Son
- Updated: February 1, 2024
Australia, undeterred by facing football legend Lionel Messi in recent months, now gears up to meet South Korea’s Son Heung-Min in the Asian Cup quarterfinal. While maintaining respect for Son’s prowess, the Socceroos exhibit confidence after their defensive resilience against global megastars, emphasizing their stout defense and physical advantage ahead of the crucial clash.
In a dramatic Asian Cup quarterfinal setup, Australia readies itself for a showdown against South Korea, marked by a 99th-minute equalizer in Korea’s previous game against Saudi Arabia. Australia’s coach, Graham Arnold, jokes about reaching out to Son’s coach at Tottenham Hotspur, Ange Postecoglou, while expressing relief that the Socceroos won’t play in front of a hostile Saudi fanbase.
Arnold emphasizes the significance of defensive structure and shape, highlighting their ability to secure clean sheets, which he believes is crucial for tournament success. The Socceroos, having faced Messi’s Argentina twice, along with England and Mexico, feel well-prepared defensively, boasting the equal stoutest defense in the Asian Cup with only one goal conceded.
Defender Aziz Behich acknowledges the team’s defensive prowess, citing their ability to limit opposition chances. Despite Son and other Korean stars posing a threat, the focus remains on the Socceroos’ collective strength as a team. The team’s approach centers on their own capabilities and teamwork, emphasizing the need to be cautious of world-class players who can change the game in an instant.
Australia’s physical advantage is anticipated to be a key factor in the upcoming clash. Known for their hard-running and imposing style, the Socceroos have benefitted from extra recovery time, having played their round of 16 game last Sunday. Coach Arnold emphasizes their strength in physicality, pressing, and counter-pressing, vowing to maintain a high intensity and deny the opposition time on the ball.
Reflecting on their round of 16 win against Indonesia, Arnold underscores the team’s ability to wear out opponents and execute their game plan effectively. With a focus on pressure, counter-pressing, and maintaining a high intensity, the Socceroos aim to capitalize on their physical strengths against a Korean side expected to be proactive rather than defensive.
While acknowledging the individual brilliance of players like Son, the Socceroos remain steadfast in their team-centric approach. The article concludes with Arnold’s commitment to executing their game plan, emphasizing the team’s mindset and intent, as Australia seeks to triumph in the Asian Cup quarterfinal against South Korea.
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By- Sahiba Suri