Football: Asian Cup – Socceroos wary of UAE threat in semi-final
- Updated: January 26, 2015
January 26, 2015: Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan has revealed that the Socceroos are more than aware of the threat the UAE will pose when the two meet in the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup in Newcastle on Tuesday night.
The Club Brugge keeper has been in fine form throughout the competition as the host nation have charged into the tournament’s last four.
Having beaten China 2-0 to reach the semis, Ryan and the rest of the Australian squad remain confident of progressing to the final, but realise they cannot afford to underestimate the UAE, who beat Japan on penalties in the quarters.
“They’ve beaten quality opposition so they’ve got nothing to lose now. They did the job against Japan, who were the hot favourites for the tournament in a lot of people’s eyes,” Ryan told the Football Federation Australia’s official website.
“Their front four have got a tremendous amount of skill and pace. They’ve got that quality and it’s going to be difficult to breach their defence, but we can only focus on ourselves.
“We’re doing a lot better defensively and we’re growing and growing with each game. Hopefully we can take another step towards more improvement in the next game and I’m pretty confident our squad can overcome UAE.”
Ryan’s displays have earned the 22-year-old plaudits and attracted the attention of several of Europe’s top clubs. While flattered by the praise, the former Central Coast Mariners keeper is adamant that he remains purely focused on the Asian Cup.
“Obviously the praise sits nicely. I don’t want to reflect on it too early because the tournament is still well and truly alive at the moment,” he said.
“We have hopefully two more games. My focus and the team’s focus turns to Tuesday night and you’re only as good as your next performance.”
Source: Michael Church / AFC Asian Cup (www.afcasiancup.com); Editing by SportAsia