Socceroos aiming for glory in Qatar

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The Australia national association soccer team, nicknamed the Socceroos, say they are not only ready to lift the Asian Cup in Qatar as the team heads into their last group game against Bahrain on Tuesday, they admit they want to restore pride to their nation.

"This is a major tournament for all Asians, especially Australians, as a good chance to win," said midfielder Harry Kewell. "World Cups are bigger cups to win, but this competition is where we are. We are all set to win this (tournament). On this team, we all give 100 percent all the time."

Australia, which joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2005 and is hosting the Asian Cup in 2015, is on the cusp of the quarterfinals after a 1-1 draw with South Korea.

"I think in any competition you set out to win and you play every game as if it is a final," said the 32-year-old Kewell.

Socceroo captain Lucas Neil, named as the 50th player to captain Australia since 2006, said the team was here to make the nation proud.

In 2007 of the Asian Cup, the Socceroos managed just one win in the group stage before being eliminated by Japan in the quarterfinals after a 4-3 penalty shootout.

"We are a very proud nation," said Neil, who moved to Turkish sports club Galatasaray SK last January. "(The Asian Cup) will help to restore Australian sport's pride."

After trashing India 4-0 in the group opener and the 1-1 draw against South Korea in the second, the Australians are at the top of Group C.

A win over Bahrain would be enough for the Socceroos to qualify for the quarterfinal.

"Both of the two teams tried to win the group. There were lots of chances created and lots of good defending to lock the shots," Neil said after the game with South Korea. "Overall, it's a really good game to be part of it."

When asked about his feelings of playing in Qatar after Australia lost to the Arab country in a bid to host the 2022 World Cup, Neil expressed his well wishes to Qatar and was glad to see Asia's growing participation in soccer.

"I would like to congratulate Qatar in winning the World Cup. I think they put on one full demonstration and they certainly have great dreams and plans for 2022," Neil said. "I wish them well, and this is a great opportunity for them (to promote the sport) after they host this tournament. We (also) hope that Australia is a successful part of the 2022 tournament."

The draw put Australia on top of Group C on goal difference and it will progress to the quarterfinals if it avoids defeat on Tuesday against Bahrain, who beat India 5-2 in Friday's other match.

Defeat would send Australia home, with South Korea expected to post a big win over India in its final match to top the group.

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