We won't get complacent, says Australia's Neill
Australia captain Lucas Neill insists the team have their feet planted firmly on the ground despite their 6-0 Asian Cup semi-final destruction of Uzbekistan.sports Updated: Jan 27, 2011 15:15 IST
Australia captain Lucas Neill insists the team have their feet planted firmly on the ground despite their 6-0 Asian Cup semi-final destruction of Uzbekistan.
The experienced Galatasary defender knows the Socceroos cannot afford to be complacent going into their first major final, against three-time champions Japan in Doha on Saturday. "We won't get carried away -- the scoreline is irrelevant," said Neill of the Uzbek thrashing.
"The fact that we won is important but the players are going to have confidence now in front of goal. "We know if we can create one chance or a couple of chances then we've got a great opportunity for somebody putting the ball in the back of the net. "At the other end we've only let in one goal in five games so we're hard to break down too, so you can't ask for any more going into a final." Australia only joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006 and after a disappointing showing at their first Asian Cup a year later, they now find themselves on the brink of winning some silverware for the first time ever.
They have a high hurdle to overcome first, though, because standing between them and the trophy is a skilful and mobile Japan team, who last won the tournament in 2004.
A key advantage for Australia is coach Holger Osieck, who knows Japanese football inside-out, having guided J-League stalwarts Urawa Reds to the AFC Champions League title in 2007.
They will also be buoyed by news that key Borussia Dortmund forward Shinji Kagawa has been ruled out of the match with a serious foot injury.
Tim Cahill says excitement is building in the Socceroos' camp, but, like Neill, the Everton star insists they are not getting carried away. "The vibe is fantastic but the reality is there's one more game left," he told Australian Associated Press.
"This is the biggest prize on offer for Australian football ever, I think personally, and one of the last chances we'll ever get as a group of older players to maybe win something."