The Caltex Socceroos embark on their first home game of the Graham Arnold era with a mouth-watering clash against 2015 AFC Asian Cup finalists Korea Republic at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Few fans need reminding of what transpired the last time Australia played Korea Republic.
On a warm Saturday night, on the last day of January in 2015, the Caltex Socceroos were seconds away from their maiden AFC Asian Cup title.
Son Heung-min broke Australian hearts with a shock late equaliser, before James Troisi latched onto Tomi Juric’s pass to make history in extra-time.
But despite Arnold commencing his tenure with a 4-0 victory over Kuwait in October, there is reason for caution against a tough opponent.
Korea Republic defeated Germany 2-0 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to prove they are still a team capable of big results.
Paulo Bento’s squad is littered with quality players plying their trade across Asia and Europe.
With experienced stars such as Lee Chung-yong and Koo Ja-cheol among the travelling party, the Caltex Socceroos are in for a real test.
WHERE AND WHEN
Date: Saturday, November 17 2018
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 7.50pm AEDT
CALTEX SOCCEROOS SQUAD NEWS
At the time of announcing the squad, Arnold emphasised the importance of this November period as an opportunity to spend considerable time with his players.
This window, along with Arnold’s previous camp, means he will have spent more than three weeks combined with players who may potentially embark on the AFC Asian Cup defence in the UAE.
Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan and Tom Rogic again shape as the pillars of the team given their exploits at club level.
There will also be a special inclusion to the squad facing Lebanon on Tuesday night. Tim Cahill, the second-most capped Caltex Socceroos player, will take part in his final Caltex Socceroos fixture.
For now, though, the focus is solely on performing at Suncorp Stadium.
CURRENT WORLD RANKINGS
Korea Republic: 53
On the surface, it seems not much can separate these two Asian heavyweights.
The Caltex Socceroos have a new coach and style, and look energised on and off the field.
Korea Republic, though, had a decent FIFA World Cup showing, and have shown some form of their own.
In saying that, perhaps the result is not the most important aspect of this fixture. With less than 60 days until the start of the AFC Asian Cup, these games against Korea Republic and Lebanon are all about preparation for the Caltex Socceroos.
They provide Arnold and his technical staff vital days to get their game plan across to players, and see who can stake a claim for a ticket on the flight to the UAE.
The Caltex Socceroos’ match against Korea Republic is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland in partnership with Brisbane City Council through Brisbane Marketing.