Tim Cahill says it will be a “massive honour” to captain the Socceroos in his home town and has vowed to deliver the goods against Oman on Tuesday night.
It was confirmed on Monday afternoon that Cahill will deputise for the injured Mile Jedinak (ankle) as the Socceroos aim to secure their passage to the quarter-finals with a win at Stadium Australia.
They completed their preparations with a final training session at the venue on Monday evening but suffered a scare when Chris Herd was forced off early in the session.
It appeared Herd – a contender for the vacant midfield role – twisted his ankle, immediately limping off under the attention of physio Les Gelis.
While it remains to be seen if Herd will be right to face Oman, Cahill is a certain starter and will lead the side out on Tuesday night.
“I love playing for Australia regardless of which country I’m in but to play at home in front of my home town fans and see family and friends is very special,” Cahill told reporters.
“Not a lot of emotion comes into it when I cross that white line because it’s going to be a massive game for us.
“Three points for either team changes the tide for where the group is. For us there’s a lot on the line. We want to do well and we want to make sure we execute it in the right way.
“I’ve never needed an armband to lead this team, we take great respect that between the three of us (Jedinak and Mark Bresciano) that we do our best job to lead the side.
“It’s a massive, massive honour and it’s great in my career to have but it’s a great responsibility which I’ll make sure I’ll deliver in the right way.”
Cahill kick-started Australia’s comeback with a goal against Kuwait last Friday and will again be the focal point of the attack against Oman.
“I understand the way these teams play. They are either going to close me down or give me space,” the 35-year-old said.
“If not I’m going to create space for someone else. It was like waiting for a bus the other night. When it comes and you can get that right contact it feels great.
“There’s not going to be a lot of ball movement in the way they play because they literally have 11 behind the ball. If we believe in the philosophy of the way we want to play it will eventually come good like it did against Kuwait the other night.”
The Socceroos’ greatest-ever goal-scorer said he has watched a lot of Oman’s matches over the last six months and feels they will be a step-up in quality to what Australia faced just three days ago.
“Attacking wise and on transition they are very good and we also know defensively the last game they played with five fullbacks,” Cahill said.
“We’re definitely wary of the Omani team regardless of how many times we’ve played them before.
“We respect the team highly. We know they’ve got a great squad and have a coach that’s been with them for a very long time.
“We know this is going to be a difficult opposition but it really is down to us to try and perform again and try and do our country proud.”
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