Preview: Socceroos v South Korea

Top spot in Asian Cup Group A is on the line when the rampant Socceroos take on Korea Republic in front of a sellout Brisbane Stadium on Saturday night.


Live Blog AFC Asian Cup | Socceroos v Korea Republic

Expect attacking, technical football from two of the AFC's strongest nations. What a cracker this should be. 

Both sides are a perfect two-from-two so far in the tournament but there’s no doubting it’s Ange Postecoglou’s side that have been the more impressive.

The Socceroos have found their goal-scoring mojo, backing up their opening 4-1 demolition of Kuwait with an even better performance in crushing Oman 4-0.

The Green and Gold look to have threats all over the park, with an astonishing eight different goal-scorers in the first two games.

If Australia has been powerful and prolific, the best way to describe the Koreans is methodical.

German coach Uli Stielike's outfit has been well below their best but have done enough to eke out to 1-0 victories.

The Korea boss has been quite vocal since their last match against Kuwait, declaring his side has “no chance” against Australia if they keep playing the same way.

It might just be mind games from Stielike but it’s hard to argue given the way the host nation has gone about things in the early stages of the tournament.

For that reason it will be interesting to see what Postecoglou does with his side for the last game, knowing a draw is enough to finish on top of the group.

Skipper Mile Jedinak is making good progress from his ankle injury and will return if passed fit but it’s elsewhere the Socceroos boss has some pleasant headaches.

Jason Davidson and Aziz Behich have both performed strongly at left-back in the first two matches with the latter expected to get the nod for this one.

The rest of the defence should remain the same although with Matthew Spiranovic carrying a yellow card he may be rested, allowing Korea-based centre-back Alex Wilkinson his first minutes of the tournament.

Wingers Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse have got through a mountain of work in the first two matches and whether they can go again for the third games in eight days might be asking a bit much.

If not, both Nathan Burns and Tommy Oar will be itching to make their first starts, while the same applies for Tomi Juric.

The Wanderers striker, who came off the bench to score a classy goal against Oman, looks ready for a start if Postecoglou feels star striker Tim Cahill could do with a rest before the knockout stage.

In midfield, Postecoglou may again look to freshen things up with James Troisi and veteran Mark Bresciano options to come into the side.

Stielike is again likely to ring the changes to try and find the right mix to kick-start the Korean’s attacking flair.Having made seven changes for their second game - with a virus going through his squad - he is likely to make a handful more changes in this one with the likes of Son Heung-min, Koo Ja-cheol and Kim Chang-soo to come back into the starting XI.

Nam Tae-hee, who scored the winner against Kuwait, should keep his spot but Stielike needs to find a replacement for injured midfielder Lee Chung-yong, who fractured his leg in the opening game against Oman.

There’s no doubt this is the first major test of the tournament for both nations who have serious designs on winning the Asian Cup.

While a draw is enough for the home side to finish on top of the group, it’s not in Postecoglou’s DNA to simply play out for a point.

Expect another attack-at-all costs display from the Socceroos and their soaring confidence – coupled with Korea’s patchy form – should see the hosts make it three from three heading into the quarter-finals.