Revealed: The joke Socceroos boss Graham Arnold shared with Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou as Australia prepare to face Tottenham's biggest star at the Asian Cup

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  • Australia tackle South Korea in Asian Cup quarter-final
  • Son Heung-Min the obvious dangerman for Socceroos
  • Kick-off is 2.30am, Saturday AEDT from Doha

Eminently likeable, prodigiously skilled and a clutch performer in the big moments, Son Heung-min is football's modern-day movie star.

Unfortunately for the Socceroos, South Korea's smiling assassin - and Ange Postecoglou's captain at Tottenham - stands between them and an Asian Cup semi-final.

'I rang Ange and asked if he can take him back,' Socceroos coach Graham Arnold joked ahead of the clash.

South Korea's captain, who scored in the 2015 Asian Cup final loss to Australia, is smart, explosive, elusive and a brilliant finisher.

He hasn't hit his straps this tournament yet either, which makes the quarter-final at the Al Janoub Stadium in Doha on Friday evening (2.30am, Saturday AEDT) all the more ominous.

'You want to verse the best players in the world and he's probably up there, isn't he?' right-back Nathaniel Atkinson said.

The Socceroos will need to contain Son Heung-min if they are to win their Asian Cup quarter-final against South Korea

The Socceroos will need to contain Son Heung-min if they are to win their Asian Cup quarter-final against South Korea

The Socceroos will need to contain Son Heung-min if they are to win their Asian Cup quarter-final against South Korea

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold joked that he rang 'Aussie Ange' Postecoglou and said he was welcome to take the superstar back before he plays Australia

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold joked that he rang 'Aussie Ange' Postecoglou and said he was welcome to take the superstar back before he plays Australia 

'He scores goals for fun in the Premier League. So it'll be fun to see how he gets in those positions but also for us how we can stop that.'

Skipper Mat Ryan insists the Socceroos will respect Son - but not too much.

After all, this is a team that has faced Argentina's Lionel Messi twice in the past two years and also taken on the likes of France's Kylian Mbappe and England captain Harry Kane.

'He's just a human at the end of the day,' goalkeeper Ryan said.

Veteran defender Aziz Behich has gone toe-to-toe with Son before.

'You have to be careful, it's obviously in the back of your mind as a player when you're on the pitch that these type of world-class players can change a game in a moment,' he said.

'But it's all about us and what we can do as a team.'

There is more to South Korea than Son, of course.

Ange Postecoglou continues to impress in the Premier League, with Spurs sitting in fourth spot - minus their biggest star

Ange Postecoglou continues to impress in the Premier League, with Spurs sitting in fourth spot - minus their biggest star 

Paris Saint-Germain star Lee Kang-in, Wolves forward Hwang Hee-chan and big striker Cho Gue-sung are all capable of giving Australia's defence nightmares.

'That's where we have to be on song,' Arnold said.

'Our defensive structure, our defensive shape has been been very good, we've conceded one goal so far this tournament.

'And I know I said clean sheets win you tournaments but these type of opponents, if you're a bit sloppy and you give them one bit of space, well then you can get punished.

'That's what we've been looking at and working on and making sure that we don't give them that time, that space but also making sure that we've got our structure right, so we can nullify that.'

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