Old man Cahill looks to inspire young Socceroos

12 May 2014 09:31

Australian talisman Tim Cahill will have to roll back the years when he leads a transitional Socceroos team in a difficult World Cup group.

The former Everton star is his country's record scorer and he will be keen to make amends for 2010, when he was sent off in the first game as Australia went out in the group stage.

Much will depend on Cahill, one of the last survivors of Australia's "golden generation" including Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and Mark Viduka.

But now at 34, and winding down his career at the New York Red Bulls, age is not on Cahill's side as Australia take on champions Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B.

However he fares in Brazil, the attacking midfielder, with the uncanny knack of scoring crucial goals, will always hold a special place in the hearts of Australian fans.

Cahill first made his mark with unfashionable English club Millwall whom he inspired to a surprise appearance at the 2004 FA Cup final. That earned him a move to Everton

and he became his country's leading scorer with 31 goals in 67 internationals following his brace in the 4-3 friendly loss to Ecuador in London in March.

"It's a dream come true," he said at the time. "Just to play for your country is one thing but to break this record is something else. It was a real proud moment for me."

Cahill's great strength is his ability to reach the heights for headed goals, remarkable in that he is just 1.78 metres (5ft 8in) tall.

Among his many crucial goals was Australia's first-ever goal at a World Cup, on the way to a brace in the 3-1 upset of Japan at Germany in 2006.

But despite his acclaimed performance in 2006, the World Cup has bitter-sweet memories for Cahill.

Four years ago in South Africa, he was controversially sent off during Australia's 4-0 defeat to Germany and missed the next game.

Australia managed only a 1-1 draw with Ghana and dropped out of the tournament even though Cahill came back to score in Australia's 2-1 win in the final group game against Serbia.

Now Cahill, born in Sydney to a Samoan mother, will hope to write a new chapter in Brazil, his third and final World Cup campaign.

And fans will hope to have another chance to see his famous goal celebration of launching a flurry of punches at the corner flag.

Source: AFP