Heavyweights Australia, Korea face off in blockbuster quarterfinal

Pune, Jan 29 (Football News) Regional heavyweights and title contenders Australia and South Korea are set for an explosive match when they face off in the AFC Women's Asian Cup quarterfinals here on Sunday.

Korea will be motivated as a win will not only take them a step closer to lifting the elusive Asian Cup title but will also seal them a berth in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Australia, already assured of their FIFA Women's World Cup berth as co-hosts, will be equally driven as they look to win the continental tournament for a second time after their 2010 triumph.

Korea head coach Colin Bell is focused on getting the World Cup ticket and is confident his players will be ready for everything that Australia throw at them at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.

"We've been trying to play an aggressive style ourselves," said Bell.

"When we've achieved it, we looked good. I reminded the girls before training that the last few weeks we got a draw against the world champions (United States) and a draw against the Asian champions (Japan), to give them confidence." "We have a chance against every team if we adhere to the attributes that make us strong. We have to match that physicality in certain areas, but do it with a clear head.

"We have to make sure we're organised and compact every second. If we want to have a chance to beat Australia, it's a question of having a defensive organisation." With Chelsea star Sam Kerr leading an incredible strikeforce that scored 23 goals in the group stage, Australia will be a tremendous challenge but Bell said the key is for Korea to take on the Matildas as a team.

"We've studied Australia, and Sam Kerr is one of the world's best players. The ability that she has, the speed, she scores a lot of goals and works really hard for the team. She's an ideal striker for any team because of the work rate and attitude.

"You have to be on the top of your game, whether it's tomorrow or next week, because she is one of those players that can turn up in any given situation, which puts a lot of pressure on our defenders. When you're playing against one of these world-class players, that should be an added motivation." "These top nations, whether it's the US, Japan, Germany or France, they all have players in different areas that can do damage. So you can't say if we stopped this player than we have a better chance, but in this case they have so many, so we have to do it collectively.

"We have to be well organised to combat all the strengths that they have. It's also important for us to realise we have a lot of quality ourselves, and I think we showed that in the match against Japan. It's important that we instill that confidence in our own team and look at the weaknesses of every opponent, and take it from there." The Matildas dominated Group B with three wins but head coach Tony Gustavsson is expecting a very different match on Sunday.

"We've always tried to prep every single detail of the game. We know it's going to be a completely different game to the three in the group stage," said Gustavsson.

"They are a really hard team to break down. We know this is a team that is going to cause some problems for us. We've looked into every single detail on how we can deal with that, but at the end of the day, it's about us performing our game plan and being true to who we are.

"If we're up to our standards and keep playing our A-game, we're in a good place tomorrow." While the Swedish boss has much respect for Korea's never-say-die attitude, all he wants is his team to focus on their own strengths and do what they've done in the past.

"We're never going to change the way we play. We are going to be true to who we are. The Matildas stand for aggressive mindset, pressing games, attacking with numbers, being brave out there and I'm happy and proud to be a coach of a team with that mindset. We're not going to give up on that.

"We need to do it well enough to win games in the knockout stage." 

Also Read : Japan start favourites in quarterfinals against COVID-hit Thailand

News Source : PTI


Share The Article:

Leave A Reply