Sydney: Australia’s record goalscorer Tim Cahill retired from international football Tuesday after netting 50 goals in 107 appearances for his country.
The prolific and tireless talisman had a knack for scoring crucial goals for the Socceroos during more than 14 years in the green and gold.
Here are his top five moments:
1. Australia v Japan, 2006
Cahill came off the bench for Australia — who were playing in their first World Cup for 32 years — to inspire the team to rally to a 3-1 win over Japan. Just minutes before the full-time whistle, Cahill fired home in a goalmouth scramble to record his nation’s first-ever goal in the finals. He was on the spot again five minutes later to lash home a volley from outside the 18-yard box to give the Socceroos a 2-1 lead.
2. Australia v Japan, 2009
Japan was again at the receiving end of another Cahill brace, this time in Melbourne in an Asian World Cup qualifying group match. The Socceroos rallied from behind to score in the 59th and 76th minutes. The first was a trademark header by Cahill, who met Vince Grella’s lofted free kick and arced it beyond the Japanese goalie into the far top corner. His second goal came when he drove home Nicky Carle’s corner from close range.
3. Australia v Netherlands, 2014
Facing the Netherlands in the group stages of the World Cup in Brazil, Australia conceded an early goal before Cahill found the back of the net with a thunderous left-footer that brought back memories of Dutch legend Marco Van Basten’s goal in the 1988 European Championships final. Latching onto a long ball from Ryan McGowan, Cahill volleyed an unstoppable first-time shot, which flew in off the underside of the crossbar — his fifth World Cup goal. The wonder-strike was voted by FIFA as one of 2014’s greatest goals.
4. UAE v China, 2016
After 75 minutes of the 2018 World Cup qualifier in Abu Dhabi, the UAE coach Mahdi Ali would have been a thoroughly contented man.
His side were heading towards their fourth point from their opening two Group B games as they were drawing 0-0 with Australia after their sensational 2-1 win in Japan.
But then, 15 minutes from time, Cahill’s dramatic intervention just moments after climbing off the substitutes’ bench left Ali and his valiant Whites side devastated at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium.
5. Australia v Syria, 2017
Trailing Syria just six minutes into a must-win World Cup play-off, Cahill headed the ball into the net on 13 minutes to level the score and take the match into extra time. Despite lacking regular game time for his then-club Melbourne City, Cahill powered on and in the 109th minute out-jumped his marker to head a cross past the diving Syrian goalkeeper.