Last night Tim Cahill became just the second player to make his 100th appearance for the Socceroos.
Although Australia didn’t get the desired result, Cahill wore the captain’s armband with energy and passion, something which we have seen throughout his tenure with the national team.
The star forward made his national debut in 2004 against South Africa, and from there he didn’t look back. He quickly asserted himself as a goalscorer, and he would go on to net some of the most famous in Australian soccer history.
He played in the game that saw the Socceroos qualify for the 2006 World Cup, their first since 1974. It was that tournament in which Cahill placed himself firmly in the hearts of fans across Australia.
Who could forget Australia’s World Cup run in 2006, and it all started with a clash against Japan in Kaiserlautern. Down 1-0, and facing defeat, Cahill came on in the 53rd minute. Australia had never scored a World Cup goal, and it was looking like that run would continue. However, the former-Millwall man put one in the back of the net in the 84th minute, and then put Australia in front five minutes later.
Those goals, on the world stage, at such a crucial time, meant Cahill instantly became a Socceroos hero. In a matter of moments he had thousands shadowboxing in anyway they could.
Cahill wouldn’t hit the scoreboard for the rest of the tournament, but had cemented his place in Australian sporting folklore. Lucky for soccer fans in this country it didn’t stop there.
He managed to score again in the 2010 World Cup, and produced one of the goals of the year in the 2014 edition of the tournament. He also would don the green and gold a number of times in between major tournaments.
More recently Cahill produced goals in Australia’s successful Asia Cup campaign, with a bicycle kick against China no doubt being the highlight.
If you were looking for an idea of just how much respect the 37-year old has around the world, check out what some of these big names had to say about his 100th performance.
100 caps @Tim_Cahill brilliant achievement and still going strong – well done mate
— Philip Neville (@fizzer18) June 25, 2017
48 international goals: ⚽
First outfield player to reach 100 appearances for Australia: 💯
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 25, 2017
— Bruno Fornaroli (@BFornaroli) June 25, 2017
Throughout all of it, whether he was kicking goals or he wasn’t, Tim Cahill represented his country with a pride and passion that few have rivalled. Hopefully for all fans we see it for a few more years at least.
His ability to score the big goals, in key moments, is a skill that few have mastered. Many Australians will have memories of silently screaming at the television after another Tim Cahill stunner for the Socceroos.
Not only should and will he go down as one of, if not the greatest Socceroo of all time, he will also be known as one of the best Australian athletes to represent his country.
Current coach Ange Postecoglu furthered this sentiment before the game against Chile.
“It’s not just football, to Australia as a nation, he’s a great Australian, he transcends sport,” he said of Cahill.
The 2018 World Cup is just around the corner, I don’t know about everyone else, but all I want is another chance to be up in the middle of the night celebrating a Tim Cahill Socceroos goal.