DOHA - A phone call from King Hamad bin
Isa al-Khalifa has left Bahrain's players in buoyant mood as
they attempt to record a first victory over Australia and reach
the Asian Cup quarter-finals.
Bahrain need to beat the best FIFA ranked side in the
16-team tournament if they are to reach the quarter-finals with
Australia requiring only a point at the Al Sadd Stadium on
Tuesday to make the last eight.
Bahrain, who have lost all four previous meetings against
Australia, will be without goal-scoring midfielder Faouzi Aaish
who is suspended after being sent off in their 5-2 win over
India on Friday, but hopes are high they can reach the last
eight for only the second time following the royal call.
"The call raised the level of moral and spirit amongst the
players. This call is a decoration on our chest," Bahrain coach
Salman Shareeda told reporters on Monday ahead of the Group C
"His majesty's call was very much impressive and expressive
and shows his majesty is following up on his sons and his
citizens. He is satisfied with out performances."
Shareeda cut a grumpy figure at Monday's media conference
where he offered vague replies to questions about how his team
will overcome Australia, who will replace Aaish and how he will
shore up the team's leaky defence.
"We are unlucky we have had many injuries so far and these
have been injuries in the past few days," Shareeda, who has only
been in charge of the team since October, revealed.
Although when asked which players had suffered the injuries
and, if necessary, who would replace them, a secretive Shareeda
"We, as a technical management, have agreed with our own
substitutes. We are prepared to meet and face Australia the
substitutes are already there and have already been selected."
Australia's coach Holger Osieck was in far more jovial mood
when he spoke with the media earlier.
The German revealed there were doubts over injured trio
Jason Culina (knee), Luke Wilkshire (groin) and David Carney
(shoulder) but was confident his side could qualify for the
"We are in a position where we have our fate in our own
hands if we put in a good performance we will definitely achieve
our target," Osieck said.
"We don't consider anything other than a victory. When you
try and play a tactical game (for a draw) you lose your
direction, strength... you definitely should avoid this."
South Korea, seeking their first title since 1960, are
expected to easily sweep aside the tournament's lowest ranked
side India and join either Australia or Bahrain in the last
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