Australia’s ‘2m giant’ is scary… but Korea has a ‘monster defender’ in Kim Min-jae

Australia will be led by the ‘2-meter barrier’ Harry Souttar (26, Leicester City) to reach the final four. South Korea, however, is led by the “monster” Kim Min-jae (28, Bayern Munich).

Jürgen Klinsmann’s men will take on Australia in the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Qatar Asian Cup at Al Wakrah Al Janoub Stadium on Wednesday at 0:30 p.m. ET.

South Korea’s quarterfinal run has been nothing short of miraculous. Klinsmann’s men defeated Saudi Arabia in a penalty shootout on March 31 in the round of 16. Down 0-1, Cho Kyu-sung equalized in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time, and in the penalty shootout, Cho Hyun-woo saved two shots to send his team to the quarterfinals.

The next opponent is Australia. The Aussies are coming off a 4-0 victory over Shin Tae-yong’s Indonesia in the Round of 16. The Socceroos were caught off guard by the unexpected pressure from Indonesia, but were able to capitalize on an early own goal and their superior height.

This match is also expected to be a close one. Soccer statistics outlet Opta calculated a 47% chance of South Korea reaching the quarterfinals and a 53% chance of Australia advancing. Running the simulation on a supercomputer, the odds are 40% for Australia to win in 90 minutes of regulation time, 33.3% for South Korea to win, and 33.3% for a draw. The odds are in Australia’s favor.

Klinsmann added: “I expect a tough game. Australia are in good form. We’ve already played 120 minutes against Saudi Arabia, so I think it’s going to be a hard-fought game tomorrow.” “But we’re ready to fight. Our goal is to advance to the next round.”

Son Heung-min is also dreaming of revenge. At the 2015 tournament in Australia, South Korea lost the trophy in front of their eyes, falling to Australia in the final. Son Heung-min, the youngest player at the time, burst into tears as he was hugged by Chaduri after the game.

Looking ahead to the return match against Australia, the now-captain said, “It will be a tough match. Australia has a good atmosphere. There are always upsets in sports. I don’t want to talk about 2015, but it hurt. I won’t repeat my mistakes. I will prepare well,” she said, vowing to wipe away the tears from nine years ago.

Target #1 to watch is Souta. The center back, who plays for Leicester City in the English Championship (second division), is the tallest player at the Asian Cup (2 meters).

While Souta has struggled to compete for a starting spot at his club, he is a key resource for the Socceroos. He’s played full-time in all four games this tournament. The Socceroos have played an ironclad defense around him, conceding just one goal.

He’s also a formidable scorer. Souta has scored 11 goals in an impressive 26 A-match appearances. Only Son Heung-min (43) and Hwang Hee-chan (12) have more goals in the Klinsmann Cup.

Souta also scored in the round of 16 against Indonesia, finishing 토토사이트 추천 off a cross from Craig Goodwin in second-half stoppage time. South Korea will need to be wary of Suta, both in attack and defense.

If Australia has Sutta, South Korea has Kim Min-jae. He joined Napoli last season and led them to their first Serie A title in 33 years, before moving to German champions Bayern Munich last summer, where he has been a regular starter.

Kim is also the highest-ranked defender in the world in the 2023 Ballon d’Or voting, coming in at No. 22. He beat out the likes of Manchester City treble winner Jubeng Dias and ‘Croatia specialist’ Josko Gvardiol. The 2023 Korean Football Association Player of the Year and AFC International Player of the Year awards also went to Kim.

Kim has started all four of South Korea’s games at the tournament and has been an integral part of the backline. He is certain to start against Australia as well. If Kim can keep Souta’s delivery from set pieces out of the way, South Korea will have a good chance of winning.


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