Tim Cahill has long been Australia’s talisman with a penchant for perfectly timed goals, so it seemed appropriate that he would claim the Socceroos’ goalscoring record at Millwall where he started his senior career.
Cahill bagged a first-half double against Ecuador on Wednesday to take his international tally to 31 goals in 67 appearances, overhauling Damian Mori’s record of 29.
Unfortunately for Cahill, what seemed set to be a perfect evening ended in disappointment as a ten-man Australia let a three-goal half-time lead slip for the first time in the Socceroos’ history, with the South Americans completed a stunning 4-3 comeback win in injury time.
Cahill made his national team debut ten years ago this month across London at QPR’s Loftus Road, coming on as a second-half substitute against South Africa.
“As a kid you strive for great things like this,” Cahill said in reference to his goalscoring feat. “I feel fantastic that it is a great moment in my career.”
The record of the 34-year-old is likely to stand for many years, with only fellow veteran Archie Thompson (28) in double figures among players that have recently featured in the Green & Gold.
Cahill cemented his place in national sporting folklore as Australia recorded its first ever win at a FIFA World Cup™ at Germany 2006, with the Sydneysiders’ brace in that match against Japan being the nation’s first win on the global stage.
In the first half we played some of the greatest football I've ever seen from the Socceroos - and I've been around for a long time.
Now Cahill is set to appear in a third World Cup, despite new Australia coach Ange Postecoglou implementing a significant change in squad personnel.
“We take this (defeat) to heart, because as a team we are trying to build something special,” said Cahill.
“What I’m most proud of is the intent of what we were going to do and how we are going to do it. We weren’t going to change our game for anyone.
"In the first half we played some of the greatest football I've ever seen from the Socceroos - and I've been around for a long time.
“I’m proud of my moment, but I’m more proud of the young guys, and what they are achieving. It is exciting times for Australian football.”