Australia boss Ange Postecoglou said the Socceroos were not popping champagne corks yet after they sank United Arab Emirates 2-0 on Tuesday to set up an Asian Cup final against South Korea.
The hosts took a lightning quick lead in Newcastle through Trent Sainsbury after only three minutes, with left-back Jason Davidson adding the second shortly before the 15-minute mark.
UAE battled gamely to get back into the match but Australia were solid in defence and ran out comfortable winners at Hunter Stadium to make their second-straight Asian Cup final.
“In the dressing room now there are no champagne corks being popped,” Postecoglou told reporters after the match. “The players are already in recovery mode. Staff are already planning for the next step.
“That part of my job is really easy. I have good people around me and the players are absolute professionals,” added the 49-year-old.
Postecoglou added that the players needed to quickly “erase” the semi-final victory and concentrate on Saturday’s final against Uli Stielike’s men in Sydney.
Australia narrowly lost to Japan 1-0 in the final four years ago and have another shot at their securing their first Asian Cup title.
But they will also be wary of the threat posed by South Korea after they lost 1-0 to the Taeguk Warriors — who have yet to concede a goal in the tournament — in the group stage.
South Korea saw off Iraq 2-0 in the first semi-final on Monday.
Socceroos talisman Tim Cahill echoed his coach’s comments that the squad’s focus was already fixed on tackling the steadfast Koreans.
“It wasn’t too upbeat,” the former Everton star said of the atmosphere in the changing rooms after the game. “No one is really getting carried away.
“We were straight on the massage tables and in the ice baths and focusing now on one of the biggest games in Australian soccer history.” – Agence France-Presse