Wednesday 27 June 2018, 07:53

Cahill influence extends beyond the pitch

Tim Cahill of Australia greets the mascots 
  • Australia’s Tim Cahill made his first appearance at Russia 2018 against Peru

  • Having scored in three previous World Cups, it is likely his final tournament

  • He is seen as a leader and mentor by the younger Australian players

By Sarah Widera with Australia

We might just have witnessed Socceroos legend Tim Cahill’s last appearance in the green and gold.

After a 2-0 defeat handed down by Peru, the Aussies were sent packing from the competition. Cahill had not previously seen any game time at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ until this crucial final group stage fixture.

The effect of his presence from the 53rd minute onwards was obvious, and seemed to lift his team-mates as well as the fans. “I was just happy to grace the pitch and have the opportunity to try and score in the short space of time that I had,” he said.

It’s been said many times over in the last month, but Cahill’s presence extends far beyond the bounds of the actual game of football. Cahill is viewed as a mentor, a leader and an individual who is fiercely proud to represent Australia.

“This is all about playing for your badge, for your country, it’s more than football … it means everything,” Cahill said.

Having now played in four consecutive World Cups, Cahill is in a position where he is more than qualified to lend a bit of advice to some of his younger team-mates.

“I just said to the boys [after the game] ‘be grateful’ because this opportunity might not ever come around again, and I’m lucky enough to have had four of them.”

While Cahill’s international future remains unknown, he admits he’s feeling incredibly fit and fresh after 40-odd days in camp. After all, age is just a number, right?