Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Socceroos Ready for China Pitch Battle

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Socceroos Ready for China Pitch Battle

Article excerpt

A BUMPY pitch has emerged as a major concern for coach Ange Postecoglou ahead of Australia's Asian Cup quarter-final against China at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

The Brisbane ground will also host a match between unbeaten Group C rivals Iran and UAE tonight, not an ideal scenario three days before the Socceroos, quoted at $1.61 by Sportsbet, take on China ($5).

It was China's coach, Frenchman Alain Perrin, who first raised concerns about the surface after his team beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the first game of the tournament played in Brisbane on January 10, describing the pitch as "very, very, very, very bad".

Australia's 1-0 loss to South Korea on Saturday night means that instead of playing their next match in Melbourne, the Socceroos will continue to battle Brisbane's oppressive January heat to prepare for a game on a surface not suited to Postecoglou's attacking style of play.

"The pitch is really disappointing. It stops us playing our football," the coach said as concerned Asian Cup organisers and stadium management reacted by relocating yesterday's training sessions scheduled for the UAE and Iran away from the ground, and ordering new turf to be laid inside the six-yard boxes at each end of the pitch. …

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