- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SYDNEY (AP) - It didn’t take long for Oman coach Paul Le Guen to start touting Australia as the favorite to the win Asian Cup on home soil.

Le Guen’s lineup lost 1-0 to 2002 World Cup semifinalist South Korea in its opening match, but crashed out of contention in the continental championship with a thumping 4-0 defeat to the Socceroos on Tuesday night.

It was all but over by half time at Sydney’s Olympic stadium. Matt McKay and Robbie Kruse scored in the first half and Mark Milligan made it 3-0 with a penalty just before the break. Tomi Juric added a fourth early in the second half to complete the scoring, although the Australians had a few more chances before full time. The result ensured Australia and South Korea, each with six points from two games, would progress to the quarterfinals from Group A.

“They were far better than us in each part of the game,” Le Guen said of the Australians. “They have power, they have impact and that’s why they are favourites of the competition. Really they have a good balanced team.

“Even at the World Cup, although the results were not good, I think they are on the right track.”

The Australians earned plenty of praise at the World Cup in Brazil last year for their attacking style in narrow group-stage defeats to Chile and Netherlands, and one of Tim Cahill’s goals was rated among the best of the tournament. Coach Ange Postecoglou is pushing the attacking mentality as the way forward for his team, but it hadn’t been getting obvious results until this week’s two big wins - starting with the 4-1 win over Kuwait in the opening game.

Postecoglou, now with four victories from 14 matches, played down the suggestion that his Socceroos were the team to beat.

“Oh please, favourites?” said Postecoglou, who for a long time has suggested that his team is vastly under-rated. “But from my perspective, nothing changes”

“Whether people think we’re favourites now or the team ranked 300 in world, doesn’t make any difference to me.”

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