Socceroos must stay focused for showdown with Japan

Tim Cahill says excitement is building in the Socceroos’ camp ahead of Sunday morning’s (AEDT) Asian Cup final but insists Australia won’t lose focus in their preparations for the showdown with Japan.

Australia stormed into the tournament decider with a stunning 6-0 win over Uzbekistan in Tuesday’s semi-final while Japan overcome fellow heavyweights South Korea on penalties.

Cahill said the Socceroos took time to savour the moment of reaching their first continental tournament final but had quickly shifted their focus to recovery and preparations for the match at Khalifa Stadium.

‘The vibe is fantastic but the reality is there’s one more game left,’ Cahill said on Wednesday.

‘After the match we had a great dinner, we talked about Schwarzy getting his 87th cap to equal Alex Tobin. We gave him a round of applause and some of the youngsters for getting their first goal for Australia.

‘It’s fantastic but we’re in rehab stages now, ice baths recovery pool sessions and a family day.

‘This is the biggest prize on offer for Australian football ever I think personally and one of the last chances we’ll ever get as a group of older players, to maybe win something.’

Cahill has battled several knocks throughout the tournament but insisted there was no chance he would miss the final.

A host of Socceroos have also been carrying minor niggles but came through the win over Uzbekistan unscathed and coach Holger Osieck should have full squad to pick from.

Osieck was able to afford Cahill, Harry Kewell and Brett Holman valuable early marks against Uzbekistan.

‘It’s not nice to get knocks but when you play five games in 12 days, you’re going to get a lot worse than this,’ Cahill said.

by Buford Balony

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