Football – Asian Cup: Korea should share trophy, Stielike jokes
- Updated: February 1, 2015
February 1, 2015: Uli Stielike felt his side deserved a share of the spoils as Korea Republic missed out on an opportunity to claim their first AFC Asian Cup title in 55 years when Australia lifted the trophy for the first time on Saturday evening.
Son Heung-min scored for the Koreans in injury time at the end of the second half to take the final into extra-time, cancelling out Massimo Luongo’s opener, only for James Troisi to score in the 105th minute.
Troisi’s goal ensured the trophy stayed in the host country for the next four years, but Stielike was full of praise for his team – and even jokingly proposed the novel idea of the finalists keeping hold of the silverware for two years each.
“I don’t agree that we’re not champions. I agree that we don’t have the Cup, but our players are champions of a lot of hearts. In a lot of messages I’ve received in the minutes after the game, everybody is giving a big hand to the players,” Stielike said.
“It was a game that could have seen victory go to one side or the other. I think the best for this game would be a draw and each team takes the Cup for two years at home.”
The former Real Madrid midfielder praised his players for their performance and is convinced the team has laid the groundwork for further success in the future.
“I can convey to them that we have to go on in this way. The final was the best game in terms of body language, when you play in front of 76,000 people and some players have never played in this ambience,” he said.
“There was no difference in which is the home team and which is from outside. We know we have to work on technical things, but the mentality and discipline in this team is excellent.”
Stielike also had a special message for fans back in Korea watching the game at home. “Korea, you can be proud of your boys,” he said in Korean. “This is what I’m thinking and more what I’m feeling. For the future, we’re on the right way because we have a good group.”
Source: WSG / AFC Asian Cup (www.afcasiancup.com); Editing by SportAsia