A tireless contributor and consistent goalscorer during his national team career, Tim Cahill’s status among Australia’s all-time greats has long been assured.
An ability to rise to the occasion when it matters was famously underlined at Germany 2006, when Cahill bagged a late double within a matter of minutes against Japan. The goals were Australia first-ever at a FIFA World Cup™ and helped the Socceroos to their maiden win on the world stage, lifting Cahill’s profile to stratospheric levels in his homeland. His goal against Serbia at South Africa 2010 – typically a dynamic headed strike – means Cahill is the only Australian to score at two World Cups.
Despite a modest build Cahill is surely one of the world’s greatest exponents of the art of heading. An uncanny ability to time an impressive leap, combined with a considerable dose of heroism, has made Cahill a fans’ favourite throughout his club and international career.
A double against Ecuador earlier this year lifted Cahill to 31 goals and past Damian Mori’s long-standing national record.
However, it could have all been so different. Born in Sydney to a Samoan mother, Cahill briefly played for the Polynesians’ U-20 team and was deemed ineligible to feature for the Socceroos until he was 24 following a change in FIFA’s eligibility regulations in 2004.
Though a fiercely proud Australian, Cahill retains a strong connection to his Samoan heritage and has been known to occasionally celebrate a goal by mimicking a va’a stroke; Polynesian’s popular canoe sport.
Cahill remains a highly regarded figure at Everton following eight years of consistent and loyal service at Goodison Park, which ended in 2012 with a move to New York Red Bulls. Late last year Cahill netted after just seven seconds in a match for New York, considered to be the fastest goal in Major League Soccer history.
Cahill has mostly filled an attacking midfield role throughout his national team career, though increasingly in recent years he has been deployed as a central striker, including during Ange Postecoglou's era as coach.