Korea Republic coach Uli Stielike likened his team’s 1-0 win over the Socceroos on Saturday night as being like a final rather than a group stage clash.
Speaking after the win at a steamy Brisbane Stadium, which confirmed Korea Republic as Group A table toppers, the German mentor said the clash set a high benchmark.
And he praised both sets of players for their commitment in the heat in front of almost 50,000 fans.
"I didn't have the impression that today was the group stage. I thought it was the final,” he told reporters after the game.
“The players felt the ambience of a final which supported the quality of the match.
"I hope tonight will serve as the benchmark for the rest of the games.
"The players from both teams did a great job in the heat over 95 minutes.
“The result could have easily been 1-1 but the result was not so important."
Korea Republic now head to Melbourne to face either Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals.
Australia, as second in the group, remain in Brisbane to face China on Thursday.
"It doesn't matter if you are first or second. What was more important was the behaviour and manner in the game we played," Stielike said.
Korea Republic came into the game burdened by illness and injuries. And Saturday night’s clash with the Socceroos has given Stielike a few more challenges for his medical staff.
"We have nothing to worry about apart from the injuries to Park Joo-ho and Koo Ja-cheol. Park is not so bad but Koo will have to have an X-ray tomorrow to see how he is," he said.
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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