Fresher, fitter Socceroos primed for knockout clash

Remaining in Brisbane and with two days rest and recovery, the Socceroos say they’re in peak shape to press home their advantage in Thursday’s Asian Cup quarter-final against China.

Australia have remained in the Queensland capital after finishing second in Group A following Saturday’s loss 1-0 to Korea Republic.

By contrast, China’s final group game was in Canberra on Sunday when Alain Perrin’s men made it three from three with a 2-1 win over DPR Korea.

The schedule has given the Socceroos an advantage with the team recovering on Sunday and given two days off to switch off, rest and recuperate. 

It all means the Socceroos’ high-powered, high-pressing game plan is ready to be rolled out again against their in-form Chinese opponents in Thursday night's do-or-die clash with China. 

“The key is to move the ball quickly. Because it’s one thing defending together and shifting across the pitch but I think it’ll be tough for them to do it for a full 90 minutes – especially in the warm weather,” Socceroo winger Mat Leckie told reporters on Tuesday.

“If we can continually keep the ball moving quickly, at some point they’ll lack that small bit of concentration that will give us opportunity.

“If you’ve got the ball for a long time in the game it’s difficult [for opponents]. Moved left and right for a lot of the game it’s just physically not possible for 90 minutes."

On Tuesday the Socceroos had a video analysis session on China. This was to be followed by a session back on the track later in the day with another planned for Wednesday.

The German-based striker added: “We’ve had a couple of days off so we’re all ready to get back on the track kicking a ball about a bit.

“We’ll work hard in the first half an hour against China to make them move around. 

“If we can get a goal early they’ll probably have to change their game plan and won’t be able to sit so deep.”

The Socceroos will face China PR in the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday 22 January (8.30pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.