Korea Republic boss Uli Stielike has been impressed by the Socceroos’ form at the Asian Cup but believes victory over them on Saturday night would give his side belief they can go far in the tournament.
“If you look at the details, the statistics, Australia is the best team in the ratings of passes, of challenges, of tackling, of headers, of a lot of things,” Stielike said on Friday.
“But also, you know, the tournament after this game tomorrow will come into another phase and in another way and we will have to look at what happens from the quarter-finals.
“I think both teams are able to offer a good game.”
While both sides are a perfect two-from-two in the group stage, Ange Postecoglou’s side are in the box seat to top the group due to their superior goal difference.
Korea would need to win the match at Brisbane Stadium if they wanted to head into the last eight as the winners of Group A.
“If you aim to beat Australia at home, it will give you the conviction that you can go far in this tournament,” Stielike said.
“That’s why we have to do everything for the victory tomorrow (Saturday).”
With China assured of top spot in Group B, they loom as Korea’s most likely opponent in the quarter-finals, unless Stielike’s side can upset the host nation.
If not they will remain in Brisbane for a last-eight showdown with either Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan.
“I don’t have any preference if it is China, Saudi Arabia or another team,” Stielike said of a potential quarter-final match-up.
“If you want to go far in this tournament you have to beat the number one or number two in the other group.”
Stielike was forced to make seven changes to his side between game one and two of the group stage after a virus ripped through the Korean squad.
But key players Koo Ja-cheol, Son Heung-min and Kim Chang-soo are all expected to return against the Socceroos.