Asian Cup: Socceroos beaten by South Korea

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The Socceroos have rallied around shattered defender Lewis Miller after his Asian Cup nightmare against South Korea.

Leading 1-0 deep into stoppage-time after a first-half goal from Craig Goodwin, the Socceroos were beaten 2-1 by the Taeguk Warriors in Saturday morning’s quarter-final at Al Janoub Stadium.

Substitute Miller afforded the Koreans a way back into the game when he needlessly fouled Tottenham star Son Hueng-min in the penalty area with the Australians less than two minutes away from reaching the semi-finals.

Hwang Hee-chan converted the spot kick to take the game to extra-time.

And things were to get worse for Miller, whose reckless foul on Hwang led to Son landing the knockout blow for the Koreans with a sublime free-kick.

“We gave them some opportunities from set-pieces that we didn’t need to,” said Goodwin, who consoled Miller after the match.

“For him it’s just a learning curve. It’s about trying to keep your head and trying to stay in the moment and stay present in the game.

“It’s done now. We’re disappointed, and that’s it.”

Socceroos centre-back Harry Souttar said Miller should not “singled out” for the defeat.

“I’ve made mistakes in the past … we win as a team, we lose as a team,” Souttar said.

“Can we do better in those moments? Probably, as a team.

“We’ve just got to make sure that next time it doesn’t get to that.”

Despite Miller’s errors, the Socceroos should have earlier sealed their win but blew a host of opportunities, with Connor Metcalfe, Mitch Duke and Martin Boyle the main culprits when it came to wasting chances.

National coach Graham Arnold said the Australians were “punished” for failing to put the game to bed.

“We were up 1-0, we had chances to make it 2-0, 3-0, and if you don’t take your chances, that gets down to the individual to put the ball in the back of the net,” Arnold said.

“If you don’t take those chances you get punished, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Arnold was confident Miller, the former Central Coast Mariners right-back who now plays for Scottish club Hibernian, would be “fine”.

“I put my arm around him and give him a hug, and tell him that these things are lessons in life,” Arnold said.

“You learn from these type of things and you move forward.

“He’s got to get back to his club, (where) and it’s a different environment to here and he’ll be fine.”
The Socceroos will regather next month for two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Lebanon.

“No doubt there are some older players that may retire and move on,” Arnold said.

“I’ve learnt a lot from the other new players that I’ve brought in.”