The Australia veteran reached 100 caps but couldn’t help the Socceroos into the next round of the Confederations Cup
Tim Cahill was happy to lead from the front for Australia and implement Ange Postecoglou’s instructions against Chile.
Cahill was recalled to the side on occasion of his 100th cap and produced a wonderful display although it was not enough to put the Socceroos into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.
Australia needed to win by a two-goal margin to guarantee a place in the last four and, although hopes were raised when James Troisi put them in front, Martin Rodriguez came off the bench to rescue the point La Roja required to set up a meeting with Portugal on Wednesday.
Of his role, Cahill said: “Once I lead, the other boys follow. It wasn’t about 100 caps for me, it was about implementing the style the boss wanted. When you get in players’ faces it doesn’t matter who they are, they are under pressure. we caused them problems, a world class team we respect a lot.”
Although a fan of Chile, Cahill was surprised at their willingness to play the long ball.
He added: “We know we dominated large parts of the game, physically and football-wise. Chile just lumped the ball long.
“We got the goal and should have had a lot more. They’re a team we’re trying to emulate. Aside from their skill and individual players, they’re one of the hardest-working teams in the world, defending and attacking. It was great to play the best and stand level pegging with them.”
I’ll always give everything for my country So proud of everyone. pic.twitter.com/gPs2L3hO3m
— TIM CAHILL (@Tim_Cahill) June 25, 2017
Cahill is a firm believer in Postecoglou’s attempts to evolve Australia’s style of play from a direct approach to a passing, possession-based game, adding: “The biggest thing for us is we are changing the way the game should be played in Australia. People should be proud, they were the most difficult opponents we’ve had in our three games, they’ll probably go on and win this tournament.
“It was interesting that when we pressed them they lumped the ball long to [Alexis] Sanchez. Normally they want to pass the ball. We’ll learn, evolve and go again.
“We are so close to doing something special. I am proud of the boss, he won’t waver and we won’t waver. I said to them [the players] at half-time, ‘Don’t step backwards, step forwards, [if you] give these players time and space and they will create problems for us.’
“I can’t speak highly enough of the boss, he really believes in these young players.
“We’ll keep playing the same way, from the back. People will call us crazy but we kept the ball really well. They were surprised we were opening them up. It only comes with intensity and a strong mentality to keep that level high.”
Cahill’s fellow midfielder Aaron Mooy made way for the former Everton man against Chile but that did not prevent him from lauding the 37-year-old for his landmark appearance.
“He’s definitely someone I look up to and others do as well,” Mooy said. “He’s been around for a long time, it’s a massive achievement to get 100 caps for your country, he’s a legend of Australian football.
“He’s still got all his hunger and drive and still works very hard. He’s in great shape, he loves to compete, it’s a big part of his game.”
Mooy spent last season on loan at Huddersfield Town from Manchester City, helping the Terriers secure promotion via the play-offs, but admitted he did not know what the future holds despite reports he would be returning to West Yorkshire.
“I don’t know where I am heading,” he added.
“I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s been a long season and it’s time to have rest.”