SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is certain of one thing: Saturday’s Asian Cup final against South Korea is not going to run to any kind of script.
With the Socceroos having lost 1-0 to the Taegeuk Warriors in a group match less than two weeks ago, the unbeaten South Koreans should perhaps be considered favourites for the match at Stadium Australia.
Postecoglou, though, said his experience of finals told him that the form book goes out of the window when there is a title on the line.
“At the end of it, we lost, but we felt we performed really well on the night so from our perspective, there was no negatives to come out of it,” he told reporters on Friday.
“The most important thing is that we left that match knowing that at our best we can match it with that Korean team.
“Going into tomorrow’s game, I don’t think it’s going to have any real bearing on it. I really believe that whoever you play in a final, previous form becomes a little bit irrelevant because of the occasion.”
Saturday’s match pitches Australia, the most prolific attacking team in the tournament with 12 goals, against a South Korean team which has yet to concede in five matches.
Postecoglou said there was no secret to how his team would go about trying to break down the meanest defence at the Asian Cup.
“We’ll take the game to the opposition as we have in every game and it will be up to them to try and stop us from creating opportunity and scoring goals,” he said.
“I guess it’ll be the team that is able to play their game the best on the day and deal with whatever happens, because having been in many finals, the one thing I do know is they never run to script.”
Postecoglou said he had a great deal of respect for the South Koreans but would not be targeting their standout players, such as attacking midfielder Son Heung-min.
“I think the reason they are in the final is because collectively, they have been more consistent than other teams,” he added.
“Yes, they have individual threats and Son certainly one of them. But we’ve never been ones to focus on individuals, if you do you fall into the trap of disrespecting other players in that team.”
Postecoglou has an injury concern over right back Ivan Franjic, who sustained a hip injury in the semi-final victory over United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.