Red cards have been thrown around like faeces on farm this World Cup – yeah, you know, when they throw all that animal shit around, no? Oh, well, f**k ya, I stand by it – and Everton’s Tim Cahill is just one of those players (probably unduly) dismissed.
Indeed, Cahill’s sending-off threatened to end his tournament, as FIFA had the option to increase the suspension to two matches, but leniency has been dispensed. Thus, Cahill will just serve a one match ban and be available to make a right little nuisance of himself in Australia’s final group game against Serbia.
You can’t help but feel glad for him; particularly given, at 30-years-old, this may well be his last World Cup. So let’s take a quick gander at Cahill’s international profile (and a very impressive profile it is too).
Born in Sydney, Cahill’s diverse parentage – a Samoan mother and a British father – meant he had options regarding international representation. He actually played for Western Samoa at 14-years-old, but eventual eligibility meant he finally made his Australia debut in 2004 and consequently became part of the squad for the Olympic Games (2004 representing a good year for Cahill generally as he picked-up the Oceania footballer of the year award). In 2006 he firmly forced his way into Australian football folklore. Competing in only their second World Cup, Australia found themselves a goal down against Japan; cue super-sub Cahill’s introduction. Coming on and scoring twice, Cahill thrust Australia forward to a 3-1 victory. This was not only Australia’s first victory in the World Cup finals, but also gave Cahill the honour of scoring their first World Cup goal.
In addition to such milestones, Cahill boasts an impeccable goal to games ratio. Taking his club form and performances to the international stage – easier said then done, as we know – he’s scored 20 goals from 41 games; a record most strikers would envy. Hence, Cahill has become the heartbeat of the side, the prized asset.
Of course we all know his attributes well; much of which seem to be innate, and unable to be taught. But let’s tick some of them off anyway; combative, possessing the gift to be in the right place at the right time, exceptional positioning, potent in the penalty area, a dynamic leap and aerial ability, and seemingly really really irritating to play against. When you consider his competitive and influential character you imagine he’d be important to Australia’s progression even if banned for the final group fixture – as a talisman and prominent figure.
Fortunately, though he’s back available and Australia will surely benefit from his presence. You could call him a tenacious little terrier, a pocket rocket or even scrappy-doo (hey, let’s go crazy) but, you know, they all sound slightly patronising. Anyway, the plucky little terrier is going to get another chance at World Cup stardom; hopefully we’ll get to see the old boxing celebration, as frequently displayed at Goodison. After the World Cup, you can see him continuing to excel for Australia for a good few years – yes, yes, I know I said at 30-years-old ‘this may well be his last World Cup’, but that was for effect, ok – since his positioning and penalty area instincts are his key features. But, even if not, he’ll still go down as an Aussie legend and a favourite son of Everton.
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