“We don’t fear them” says Baccus ahead of Korea Republic Quarter Final clash
The Subway Socceroos have been training hard ahead of their Quarter Final battle against Korea Republic on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the match, midfielder Keanu Baccus explained the team understand it is a big game, but they are excited for it.
“All these knockout games are very important, I think every game was a big game for us to do our best and showcase us off, but this game is a big one to get into the Semi-Final after,” he said.
“There's definitely not too much nerves, I think a little bit is good, you know that you're ready for the game, but mostly excitement, if I'm honest.”
Korea Republic will provide a greater challenge than Australia’s previous opponents as they are ranked 23rd in the world, two higher than the Socceroos.
Baccus said that won’t stop the team from taking them head on.
“It will probably be a slightly different challenge, but we'll be ready for it, we're going to take it to them and go toe-to-toe with them for sure,"
The squad has had two more days to recover from the Round of 16 ties than Korea and this is something the players plan to make the most of on the pitch.
“We got the extra two days to recover, which was great for us, so we're going to take full advantage of that and do what we do best,” Baccus said.
“We work hard as a team and we run hard, we press hard, so we're going to start like that and then see where the game takes us.”
The Korea Republic side features star players currently performing in the biggest leagues in Europe.
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham), Kim Min-Jae (Bayern), Lee Kang-In (PSG), Hwang Hee-Chan (Wolves) to name a few.
For Baccus and the Socceroos though, it is more about focussing on their own game than the stature of the opponent.
“We're not too worried about them, we just worry about ourselves, but yeah they've got some individual players that are great, and we've got talent too, we respect them, but we don't fear them,” he said.
“We go out and play our game and do what we've been doing this tournament. We've only conceded the one goal this whole tournament, if we do that again the rest will take care of itself.”
He finished by saying the squad’s belief in themselves has grown throughout the tournament as they push towards that shared goal.
“Each game we’ve got a bit stronger and now we're here in the Quarter Finals I've got that real belief that we can go all the way.”
AFC ASIAN CUP QATAR 2023™ QUARTER FINAL
Australia v Korea Republic
Saturday, February 3rd 2024
Al-Janoub Stadium, Al-Wakrah
Kick-off: 6:30pm local (2:30am AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+
Every AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 match will be live on Paramount+