‘Bring the energy!’: Deng reveals key to Australia’s success against Korea
Australia U-23 skipper Thomas Deng believes the key to beating Korea Republic in Thursday morning’s (AEDT) AFC U-23 Championship semi-final will be to play a ‘fast and direct’ game.
Graham Arnold’s squad are on the cusp of a massive achievement if they can topple the highly-fancied Koreans at the Thammasat Stadium in Bangkok.
Not only will the Aussie youngsters book their place in the tournament final but they’ll also secure their spot at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
While Australia had to play a gruelling 120 minutes in their 1-0 quarter-final win over Syria, they have had an extra day to prepare for the semi-final than Korea.
And Deng wants his side to use that to their advantage.
“Just to bring some energy,” Deng told Fox Sports News when asked the key to victory.
“We’ve had a day extra to rest and we have been saying in the meetings to bring a lot of energy, play fast and direct. That’s what we’re going to do.
“The vibe is very good. They boys are very positive and we had a good performance the other night,” Deng added.
“Going 120 minutes isn’t easy but it’s bought us together and I think we’re going to be very hard to beat in the games to come.”
After a couple of days of rest and light training, the squad will have their final session in Bangkok tonight ahead of the do-or-die semi-final.
The Melbourne Victory defender, who has one cap for the Socceroos, says the squad is determined to take their run at this tournament as far as possible.
“It’s been an honour to lead the team on the field and we’re trying to do Australia proud,” Deng said.
“It’s been the first team that’s done well since 2013.
“Getting to the semi-final has been good but we’ve still got another two games and we want to win the Asian Cup and that will handle the rest.”
Australia U-23 Men’s National Team – Upcoming Fixture
Australia U-23 v Korea Republic U-23 – AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 Semi Final
Date: Wednesday, 22 January 2020
Venue: Thammasat Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand
Kick-off: 8.15pm (local); 12.15pm +1 (AEDT)
Stream/Broadcast (Australia Only): Fox Sports, Kayo Sports, My Football YouTube Channel