- *Tim Cahill is the first Australian to score 50 international goals *
- *He has scored in three World Cups *
- *We look at five of Cahill’s milestone strikes *
Tim Cahill’s birth certificate says he is nearing 38, but Australia’s talisman is seemingly ageless if the latest evidence is any gauge. Cahill had yet to commence his domestic campaign in Australia’s A-League, yet still managed 120 tireless minutes in Australia’s drama-charged 2-1 extra-time 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying win over Syria last Tuesday.
And his contribution was, not for the first time, decisive. Cahill scored twice in Sydney to take his tally to 50 international goals – the first Australian to achieve the feat. Cahill has scored in every calendar year since his debut in 2004. And despite a modest build, half of those goals, quite incredibly, have been headers.
Equally 25 have been scored in World Cup competition. Not that the Cahill is a flat-track bully. He has scored five goals in three World Cups across just eight matches, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo (in 13 matches), and level with Lionel Messi (15 matches).
It seems whenever the big occasions arises, Tim Cahill is there to deliver. FIFA.com takes a look at some of the Socceroo forward’s milestone goals.
*Australia v Japan, Kaiserslautern, 2006 World Cup (Final score 3-1) *A goal down against Japan entering the final minutes of their first World Cup match for 32 years, Australia’s campaign was in danger of snagging before it had barely begun. Cahill, though, drew his side level with six minutes remaining. A scrambled finish it may have been, but also a classic poacher’s goal. It was to get even better for the Green & Gold. A minute from fulltime, Cahill picked up a ball on the edge of the penalty and fired home an unstoppable shot that hit the inside of the post, and grazed the other post before nestling in the net. Japan 1 Cahill 2. The second-half substitute not only scored Australia’s first-ever goal on the grandest football stage, but helped the side to their maiden World Cup win.
*V Serbia, Nelspruit, 2010 World Cup (2-1) *Of course it just had to be Cahill who scored the opener in the Socceroos’ first World Cup win against a UEFA opponent. Both teams needed a win to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stage. Unsurprisingly a tight and tense affair played out in Nelspruit with scores deadlocked until the middle of the second half. Almost predictably it was a textbook Cahill header that secured the breakthrough. A perfectly-timed leap over a taller opponent from near the penalty spot could only have one outcome.
*V Netherlands, Porto Alegre, 2014 World Cup (2-3) *Cahill’s booming volley against the Netherlands will feature in World Cup highlights’ reels for decades to come. A long and deep cross came from the right flank and Cahill, rather than try and bring the ball down, choose the audacious. He made perfect contact with a first-time volley that gave the goalkeeper no chance. That the ball pinged off the underside of the crossbar and back up again before entering the goal, just added another layer of aesthetics to an already beautiful goal. Once again Cahill had delivered on the big stage.
*V China, Brisbane, 2015 AFC Asian Cup (2-0) *Following up that spectacular flying first-time volley would take some doing, but Cahill gave it a shot with his crucial opening goal against China PR in the quarter-final of Australia’s first AFC Asian Cup on home soil. Australia dominated the contest but China’s defence remained steadfast, and the jet-heeled Wu Lei always looked capable of securing a breakthrough at the other end on the counter-attack. The home team needed a goal to crack the open the game, and it duly arrived soon after half-time thanks to the Socceroos’ talisman. Cahill, having survived a clash of heads just seconds earlier, managed to re-gather his awareness to execute a faultless bicycle kick past the goalkeeper and inside the fast post. Australia were on their way to victory, and a week later a maiden Asian Cup title was secured.
*V Syria, Sydney, AFC 2018 World Cup play-off (2-1, 3-2 agg) *Australia fell behind inside the opening minutes against the notoriously resilient Syria in the continent’s final qualifier for Russia 2018. An immediately riposte was required for the home side. Who else but Cahill. It may have been a free header in the end from Matthew Leckie’s superb cross, but Cahill makes heading the ball with precision seem simple. Extra time was required and with the aggregate score locked at 2-2, the prospect of a penalty shoot-out was coming into calculations. Cahill, however, had other ideas and with 11 minutes remaining he again rose highest to power home another header that was more difficult than it seemed. That winner marked 50 international goals and yet another swathe of headlines for Tim Cahill.