Australia and China renew their Asian Cup rivalry this Thursday night at Brisbane Stadium in what promises to be a memorable ‘one and done’ knockout match, where the Socceroos will be counting on a sea of Green and Gold to help them advance to play another day, with the winner likely to see reigning champs Japan in the semi final.
2015 Asian Cup Preview
The Socceroos certainly had their chances against Korea Republic in Saturday night’s 1-0 defeat, squandering several openings and being nowhere near as sharp as what they showed in their two previous Group matches. With five days to put that frustrating loss behind them, Australia enters this match as the strong favourites, and will look to raise their game another notch against the Chinese.
Taking the field on the other side will be China, who enters the knockout stage after being the number one team from Group B, having swept their three opponents, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and DRP Korea by a single goal each. China will not lack for confidence either, having faired well against Australia in recent times, the latest of which resulted in a 4-3 win in the East Asian Cup just two years ago.
Australia vs. China Match Times
When: Thursday, 22 January at 8:30 pm (Sydney Time)
Where: Brisbane (Suncorp) Stadium, Brisbane
Live TV: Fox Sports 5 (Foxtel) and ABC TV
Socceroos Next Game:
Australia vs. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Time: 8:00 pm (AEDT)
Date: Tuesday, 27 January
Location: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Live Streaming on a Mobile Device
You can watch the Socceroos vs. UAE Asian Cup semi-final on the Fox Sports channel. If you aren’t a subscriber to Foxtel, you may wish to check out their latest plans such as the newly announced ‘Epic’ Sports Package offer, which includes live mobile streaming to a variety of popular devices through Foxtel Go. Take a moment and compare Foxtel Packages to evaluate if their sport offering is for you.
The host nation got off to a great start in this 2015 edition of the Asian Cup, with the Socceroos defeating Kuwait 4-1 before going to Stadium Australia where they put together another strong 90 minutes. With Tim Cahill leading the charge in the absence of injured skipper Mile Jedinak, Australia thrashed Oman 4-0 and looked to be primed to secure the top spot in Group A. With a chance for the softer draw, the Socceroos went to Brisbane and came up one goal short.
Australia’s 1-0 loss to South Korea was a game that by every measurable figure they should have won. The Socceroos had 67% of the ball and a glut of shots, but a poor defensive play, and the inability to finish their opportunities cost them as time expired. Despite the defeat by South Korea at Suncorp Stadium, the Socceroos aren’t lacking for confidence, believing that the scoreboard masked what was an otherwise dominant showing.
Socceroos Players to Watch
Massimo Luongo was outstanding in the first Group game against Kuwait and he was at it again on Saturday night when the Socceroos played Korea. And even though he didn’t score, his presence and fleet footed creativity is something that the Chinese will need to stop, or it could spell a long evening for ‘Team Dragon’.
Matt Ryan has produced some world class saves as keeper during the tournament, and it was only a slice of luck which stopped him from getting his second successive clean sheet on Saturday night. He is proven on the world stage, and has been excellent, so the Chinese attackers will need to pull out all stops to get past him.
Tim Cahill and Tomi Juric. Playing side by side for the national team for the first time ever in the game against Korea, they drove forward and produced relentless pressure. If coach Ange Postecoglou goes with this same grouping against China, and they get similar chances to what they created on Saturday, it’s more than fair to expect a different result.
Team China Preview
China kicked off their 2015 Asian Cup campaign with a strong 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia on Saturday at Brisbane Stadium, before winning 2-1 four days later against Uzbekistan. ‘Team Dragon’ then travelled to Canberra and downed DRP Korea 2-1 in a very good display on both sides of the field. Scorelines probably don’t indicate how impressive China has been, but they certainly have been one of the in form teams of the tournament and appear to be getting stronger with each outing.
China Players to Watch
Gao Lin is a star back home in China for Guangzhou Evergrande, booting home 11 goals last season. He is a craftsman when it comes to scoring, he is a real traditionalist and is a real pleasure to watch when he is at the top of his game. He has scored 18 goals for his country prior to the tournament and will have the weight of expectations back home on his shoulders.
Zheng Zhi is regarded as one of China’s greatest players, and claimed the 2013 Asian Footballer of the Year title. His greatness has seen him have stints in Europe with Charlton Athletic and Celtic, but is now playing back home with Gao Lin with Guangzhou Evergrande. He is the architect and the main man in the midfield, so a lot will be expected of him.
Three Reasons To Watch Australia vs China:
1. Will injured captain Mile Jedinak recover in time to play?
2. How will Generation Y of the Socceroos handle the pressure of the entire country?
3. It will be shown on Foxtel, through the Fox Sports channel in your local listings and as such can be streamed live on a mobile device with Foxtel Go.