Asian Cup: Cahill says South Korea are the favourites in final, expects to be marked man

Australian striker Tim Cahill arrives for a press briefing ahead of their AFC Asian Cup final football match in Sydney on Jan 29, 2015. Australia's talisman Tim Cahill brushed off retirement talk before the Asian Cup final and cannily labelled South
Australian striker Tim Cahill arrives for a press briefing ahead of their AFC Asian Cup final football match in Sydney on Jan 29, 2015. Australia's talisman Tim Cahill brushed off retirement talk before the Asian Cup final and cannily labelled South Korea favourites as he indulged in some mind games on Thursday. -- PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's talisman Tim Cahill brushed off retirement talk before the Asian Cup final and cannily labelled South Korea favourites as he indulged in some mind games on Thursday.

The 35-year-old, whose explosive performances have propelled the hosts to the brink of their first Asian title, sidestepped the question of whether Saturday's clash would be his last appearance in a Socceroos shirt.

"I'm not sure but that's something I'll talk about after," Cahill told reporters in Sydney. "My main focus is the final and hopefully trying to win something that's very special for our country.

"It's definitely going to be one of our most difficult games but the boys are determined to do well which is the biggest factor.

"They have been really well drilled and it's all about being mentally ready for 95 minutes of football because I don't think this game is going to go to extra time."

South Korea, who famously reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2002 but have failed to lift the Asian Cup in 55 years, beat Australia 1-0 in the group stages.

Cahill sought to put pressure on the Red Devils by insisting they would be favourites in Sydney.

"People can say what they want," Australia's record goal-scorer said.

"For us as players, it doesn't make a difference what people write or say because our focus is just to switch off from everything.

"If we're favourites, excellent. But I feel that's a bit of a hardship when Korea beat us so I think they're probably favourites."

Cahill scored in Australia's opening 4-1 win over Kuwait and netted a stunning double in their 2-0 quarter-final victory over China, including a jaw-dropping bicycle kick.

The former Everton forward expects to be a marked man again against South Korea.

"We definitely know a lot about their game," he said.

"They're strong and they're very physical. I don't need love from the ref.

"Every single game I've come up against something different."