In a match where South Korea never looked fussed, but nevertheless managed to increase their stranglehold as the game wore on, there were still moments of optimism from individual Olyroos.

But while Graham Arnold has a plethora of potential options at his disposal heading into a do-or-die Olympic playoff against Uzbekistan, there are question marks hanging over exactly what our front third of the pitch is capable of.

Here's how we saw things...


Thomas Glover - 6

Poor Glover had a rough night between the sticks.

Bar a couple of decent reaction stops, he was tested and outclassed by very tidy South Korean strikers, beaten first by a ball ricocheting around his goal before the belter second strike smashed past him at his near post.


Three Things We Learnt: Oz v South Korea

The Olyroos' Tokyo dreams were dealt a reality check on Thursday morning, after they were comprehensively outplayed on their way to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of South Korea in the semi-finals of the 2020 AFC U23 Championships.

Gabriel Cleur - 6.5

Cleur deserves credit for fitting into that fullback spot easily over this tournament given his relative lack of experience with many of these lads and he was heavily involved tonight.

However, his final product seemed a bit off. He consistently found himself in dangerous positions but was unable to provide a crucial final ball that may have allowed Australia a shot in anger.

Alex Gersbach - 7

Ultimately, Gersbach failed to live up to the captain's armband, unable to stablise the ship nor command any meaningful attacks from the fullback spot despite some lovely runs in behind.

His biggest problem was his inability to handle his opposing winger, Um-Won-sang, who looked as if he could break past him at virtually any moment. This left Australia a little unhinged and incapable of applying pressure. 

Dylan Ryan - 8

So far, Ryan has been one of the standouts of this tournament and tonight was no different. He even provided the single-most exciting moment of individual brilliance by an Aussie with a first-time volley from well outside the area, careering just wide in the first half.


S.Korea outclass timid Olyroos in AFC semi

Graham Arnold hopes the Olyroos can move on from their 2-0 AFC U-23 Championship semi-final loss to South Korea and beat Uzbekistan in the third-place playoff.

Tass Mourdoukoutas - 6

Failed to impress tonight with loose touches summing up the majority of his involvements.

He simply wasn't quick enough to react to the Koreans, who were constantly earning unpressed shots from outside the area on his side.

Aiden O'Neill - 6

Disappointingly quiet; lacking in the sort of instructive quality that he's shown so far throughout his career (and you'd expect from a player of his experience).

He - and the rest of Australia's midfield - were thoroughly outclassed by the Koreans.

Connor Metcalfe - 6 

It's hard to lay too much blame at the feet of Metcalfe, despite his early withdrawal, because if anything, his lack of success merely highlighted just how technically brilliant these South Koreans were.

He's clearly a fine player, as he showed on multiple occasions with nicely timed drag-backs and clean controls, but he was simply a step behind the entire match. Match fitness? Perhaps. 

But the football IQ and subsequent reaction times between both teams were a chasm across every position on the pitch. Metcalfe was simply the canary in the coal mine.

Trent Buhagiar - 5.5

His pace should have been Australia's biggest weapon tonight, as a backs-to-the-wall type of game perfectly suits the electric winger. 

Largely, the responsibility for Buhagiar's ineffectiveness falls to his teammates - namely Al Hassan Toure - who were unable to find him in dangerous areas. 

But the few times he broke through, he was similarly unable to find anyone else.

Keanu Baccus - 8

Alongside Ryan, Australia's best tonight. He excelled in a far tougher position, jam-packed between out-ran Aussies in a crucible of phenomenal Korean technicality. 

His last-ditch interceptions and brilliant tackles were a saving grace for Australia on multiple occasions and in a few brief spells, he almost unlocked dangerous counter-attacks. Our player of the match.

Jacob Italiano - 5

Quiet and ineffective, offloading responsibility too easily with the occasional hit-and-hope or hospital ball. 

He has a habit of dallying on the ball before playing into strikers surrounded by opposition, which threw away the few occasions Australia could truly boast attacking momentum.

Al Hassan Toure - 5

Nearly invisible, with poor service barely half the issue. He's explosive, but his passing needs improvement, as does his confidence in tight areas.


Denis Genreau - 5

Genreau was the only substitute who looked to have a hope of effecting the game, but was worse than the player he replaced, Metcalfe. 

From the stroke of half-time, South Korea controlled that midfield like a chihuahua on a choker chain. 

Reno Piscopo - 6

Piscopo was the most involved of the substitutes, earning himself a caution for trying to throw himself into the game. Not much else to show for it, though.

Ben Folami - N/A