Midfielder Massimo Luongo says the Socceroos don’t have to do too much different to overturn their loss to Korea Republic from the group stage to ensure they lift the Asian Cup on Saturday night.
Having seen off UAE on Tuesday night 2-0 to progress to the decider, the team’s focus immediately switched to Korea and being the side to lift the trophy at Stadium Australia this weekend.
Korea beat the Socceroos in the group stage 1-0 just over a week ago and has yet to concede a goal in the tournament which is likely to have them slight favourites to take the crown.
But Luongo, who was man-of-the-match for the second time this tournament against the UAE, says the side will take plenty of confidence from that previous match and had learned from their mistakes.
“We created a number of chances in that game and we also know they’ve got a few threats that we know about now,” Luongo said.
“We want to play the same way we did against them last time, speed up the game and create as many chances we did.
“We probably have to learn from the mistakes we made last time, not switching off at the wrong times and probably be a bit more disciplined early on.
“But we’ll keep the same mentality and style that we played with though. We’re over the moon and really proud…every one of us has worked so hard so deep down we know we deserve to be in the final.”
Goals to defenders Trent Sainsbury and Jason Davidson in the first quarter of an hour was enough for the Socceroos to get the result in front of more than 21,000 fans at a rain-soaked Newcastle Stadium.
While the early goals settled the nerves of the home fans and proved the difference, Luongo believes it may have contributed to “not the best performance” from the Socceroos.
“We want to control games a lot better. We want to have a lot of possession and we want to tire teams out,” the Swindon Town midfielder said.
“We did well for 10 minutes, got a goal and maybe if we didn’t score we would have controlled the game a lot better. But being 2-0 up we probably made it a little bit hard on ourselves.
“We could have tried to keep the ball a bit longer and not give it away as cheaply as we did. We paid for that and it went in the opposite direction a little bit.”
Asked how crushing it would be on the side not to go all the way now having gotten to the decider, Luongo said: “We all came together six months ago or longer with our main focus on winning the Asian Cup.
“We’ve got this far and we’re on the right path and not winning wouldn’t be the nicest thing.
“But in our head at the moment is the game, doing our job and getting a good performance and that will follow with a win.”
Before the tournament Ange Postecoglou said he not only wanted to win the tournament but he wanted to do it in an “Aussie way”, with his side playing aggressive, pro-active football.
While they still have one hurdle to jump to make it a reality, the Socceroos boss feels the side is living up to his mantra.
“We’ve scored more goals than any other nation and only conceded twice…The feeling I get from the supporters is they are loving watching this team play,” Postecoglou said.
“You want to be successful but you also want to continue to grow the game in this country and the only way to do that is exciting the people that come through the gates.”
The Socceroos will face Korea Republic in the AFC Asian Cup Final at Stadium Australia on Saturday 31 January (8.00pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.
Match preview: Socceroos v Uzbekistan
Having finished the group stage on a strong note, the Socceroos head into their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ Round of 16 clash against Uzbekistan in a do-or-die encounter. Australia bounced back from their opening fixture to score six goals in two games, putting three goals past Pa
LIVE BLOG: Preparations ramp up ahead of Uzbekistan clash
Star winger Mathew Leckie is among the players involved in training as the Socceroos continue preparations for their do-or-die date with Uzbekistan at AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™. Trent Sainsbury has spoken in the lead-up to the Round of 16 encounter and said team-mate Leckie was
Sainsbury gains fresh perspective from stint on the sideline
Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury said the one-match suspension he served during Australia’s 3-2 win against Syria in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ gave him a different perspective on the game. Sainsbury was forced to sit out the Socceroos’ final Group B fixture after accruing
How to watch the Socceroos v Uzbekistan in Round of 16
With the group stages well and truly complete, and teams knowing their Round of 16 fate, the Socceroos enter the pointy end of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ with a battle against Uzbekistan on Tuesday morning (1am AEDT). Graham Arnold’s men have showcased a free-flowing brand o