Socceroo midfielder Matt McKay's stint in Chinese club football is set to give the Socceroos a little advantage ahead of Thursday night’s Asian quarter-final against the Chinese.
The two nations face each other in Brisbane in one of the most anticipated matches of the Asian Cup.
With a large Chinese community and Socceroos fans snapping up tickets, Brisbane Stadium is set to be a sea of green, gold and red.
In 2013, McKay, 32, had a brief spell with CSL outfit Changchun Yatai.
That year he also played for the Socceroos against China at July’s East Asian Cup - the Chinese won that clash 4-3 in Seoul.
So his knowledge of recent Chinese football could be an asset for the Aussies.
“There are some players who are familiar. Some from Guangzhou Evergrande which is their biggest club,” McKay told reporters on Monday.
“But individually they’re really good players and as a team they’re developing.
In this tournament, three wins means they’ve had an extremely good start and we’ll have to be wary of their threats.
“It’s the biggest country in Asia and I’m sure the TV ratings will be through the roof.
“And obviously a lot of Chinese people in Australia will be out to support them.”
With over 24 million said to have watched the China versus Uzbekistan game, Chinese journalists in Brisbane are predicting a TV viewing number closer to 100 million back in China for the Socceroo clash.
McKay isn’t surprised by the growing power of Alain Perrin’s side, who come to Brisbane on a huge high after three wins in the group stage including last Sunday’s 2-1 win over DPR Korea.
“Whatever team they put out, they’ll be strong. I read their captain came off [in Canberra] but first and foremost we must concentrate on ourselves," added McKay.
“And as the boss said, in international football you don’t get many chances to switch off and the times we did switch off [against Korea Republic] it cost us. If we can get the fine details right we’ll be hard to stop in this tournament.”
The Socceroos had a day off on Monday.
On Tuesday they will begin preparations for the knockout clash, with captain Mile Jedinak set to return.
And the Brisbane Roar captain is confident he can help the Aussies to a famous win in his home city.
“A great stadium, a massive occasion and I’m really looking forward to it… we won’t lose," said McKay.
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.
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