(Asian Cup) Klinsmann stresses importance of mental preparation before quarterfinals

With fewer days of rest than their opponents going in, South Korea's quarterfinal match against Australia at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar will likely present a major physical challenge for the Taegeuk Warriors. Jurgen Klinsmann, South Korea's head coach, thinks his players' mental preparation will be even more crucial. "The most important thing about the schedule is your mental mindset," Klinsmann told South Korean reporters at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Wednesday. "We have players playing in the Premier League every three, four days. Also in the K League, they play sometimes every three, four days. It's absolutely doable." Klinsmann was referring to South Korea having to face the Socceroos on Friday only on two days' rest, compared with four days of recovery time for his opponents. After finishing as the runner-up in Group E, South Korea faced Saudi Arabia, the Group F winner, in the round of 16 on Tuesday. They were deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes of action, and S outh Korea prevailed 4-2 on penalties. Australia, on the other hand, won Group B and easily defeated Indonesia 4-0 in the round of 16 on Sunday. Klinsmann said his players will be ready, tired or not. "Athletes learn how to deal with fatigue and how to deal with pain. Now, we have to go through pain. These players have the will to go through pain, which they did in the second half (against Saudi Arabia)," the coach said. "We're going to be fit, and we're going to be fresh when we go on the field against Australia." Klinsmann also praised the mental fortitude of his striker Cho Gue-sung, who scored the late equalizer as a sub against Saudi Arabia. Cho had started all three group stage matches but had been off his mark, becoming the poster boy for South Korea's offensive struggles in the process. "It's all here," Klinsmann said, while pointing to the side of his head with his index finger. "You've got to always go for the next chance, never think about the one you missed before. He's learning that. And he believes in himself. We needed him badly, and he showed up, and he delivered. Absolutely fantastic." Klinsmann then added with a smile, "Now I want another one against Australia." The South Korea-Australia clash will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday (local time) or 12:30 a.m. Saturday (South Korean time) at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, south of Doha. Source: Yonhap News Agency