Neill says Euro Socceroos focuused for Asian Cup

Socceroo defender Lucas Neill said Australia should look at nothing less than finishing first in their Asian Cup group. "I would be probably embarrassed if the team wasn't to not only qualify from the group, I think we should be looking and aiming to top it and give ourselves a more comfortable second round draw," Neill told Andrew Lowcock of Sportal. "By that, I mean getting to stay in the same venue where we're settled, and of course we'll want to go on to the latter stages where we'll be probably playing the top two or three teams in Asia. And being in that mix, we want to get as far as we can, and I am going there wanting to win it and hoping that we can."

The 28-year-old Blackburn Rovers defender, widely regarded as the Socceroos' star performer at the World Cup, said the build-up to the Asian Cup would be harder than their World Cup preparations. "Because of things like the heat and the fact that we'll be one of the teams everyone wants to beat, we say here in England all the time that on any given night in a cup game, the small team, the underdog, can get up and beat the giant," Neill said. "It's harder to go into a tournament knowing that you're expected to win every game then go into a tournament such as the World Cup we just went into and not having any expectations. It's a different kind of pressure and I think it's something that we're kind of used to but we need to do it. We need to get results."

He is wasn't worried about the players experiencing burnout after their long European seasons have finished. "It will be the third consecutive year that Australia has played a major tournament during the European off-season, after its Confederations Cup and World Cup campaigns. As long as you're man managed well enough throughout the year, throughout the season, I think you can get away with it," Neill said. "So I don't fear for it and I'm not going to choose any different because who wouldn't want to play Confederations Cup and World Cup, then Premier League and then get the opportunity to play Asian Cup and hopefully go in to challenge and try and win trophies which is what playing football is all about?"