Tough opening match for Australia in Asian Cup: Coach
Melbourne, Jan 8: Australia's opening AFC Asian Cup game against Kuwait Friday would be tough, said coach Ange Postecoglou Thursday after overseeing his team's last training before the match.
"They've always been a difficult opponent for Australia, and as I said it's their time to shine, we won't be underestimating them by any stretch," Postecoglou said at a press conference, reports Xinhua.
"But at the same time, we will focus on ourselves and make sure we play well, and if we play well, we'll be a handful for anybody, including Kuwait," he added.
The coach also confirmed that the host team has already decided the starting line-up for the match at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
"From my perspective, the decisions have been made but at the same time we're very mindful that anything can happen on game day, whether that be in the morning of the game, in the warm-up or even during the game early," he said.
"We've got all the players ready to go, but in terms of the final selection, yes that decision has been made."
Kuwait team has responded well to new coach: Maaloul
Appointed as head coach of Kuwait only a month before the tournament, Nabil Maaloul said the period for preparation was very short, but the players have quickly adapted to his way of training.
"I think the players are ready to play their first game against Australia tomorrow," he said.
"Australia have been a very strong team since they started playing in the Asian Confederation. They have a high level of physical fitness and a lot of good key players, and many other strong points."
"We feel big pressure as the national team, but we hope this pressure will turn into a positive pressure," Maaloul added.
Kuwait lost all three group stage games at the previous edition of the tournament in 2011. Australia in contrast reached the final.
The tournament, beginning Friday, would be concluded Jan 31 and a total of 16 teams would play 32 matches in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and Canberra.