History maker Cahill stays grounded

When Tim Cahill climbed high, hung in the air like Michael Jordan then headed home his 33rd goal for Australia, the poster boy of the Socceroos not only pulled the green and gold back into the game against a rampant Chile but he also etched his name in World Cup history.

By scoring at his third consecutive World Cup in the Socceroos' opening clash of Brazil 2014, the 34-year-old Socceroo joined a club with cachet and class. 

This elite group consists of Klinsmann, Matthaus, Baggio, van Persie, Robben and Uwe Seeler. 

Oh and Pele.

These legendary strikers from the annals of world football history past and present have scored in at least three consecutive World Cups. Now our very own Socceroo legend joins this exalted company.

Little wonder Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou is using his main strike weapon as an example to his younger charges as he seeks to guide the Australians through this most arduous of groups.

"I said to the players before the [Chile] game: you can talk about rankings and we're long odds at this tournament.

"But there are individuals in our group who have overcome much larger odds to get where they are in the football world.

"Tim is one of them. To get to here from where he came from, when he does finally hang up his boots he will be in exalted company."

Cahill first came to prominence at the World Cup in Germany in 2006, when his maiden World Cup goal doubled as Australia's first in the Socceroos’ historic 3-1 win in Kaiserslautern over Japan.

An emerging talent on the books of Premier League club Everton, Cahill came on as a substitute for now fellow vice-captain Mark Bresciano that day. The rest as they say is history.

Four years later Cahill received a questionable red card against Germany, forcing him to miss Australia's draw with Ghana. 

The attacking midfielder returned and scored in the Socceroos win over Serbia but the Aussies ultimately failed to progress on goal difference.

Today Cahill plays his club football at the New York Red Bulls in the MLS, a decision he has said was made so that he could make the most of his opportunity in Brazil.

"For me it's all about defining moments,” said Cahill in the aftermath of the Socceroos' loss to Chile. 

“I've said this every single time, being one of the older boys: this is the stage to do it. When you're called upon you have to show up.

"We believe in our football, we believe in our structure. Last week they were questioning if we could create chances. Tonight we created quite a lot."

While there has been much cause for optimism given Australia’s resolve against Chile, the task facing a young Socceroos side certainly will not get any easier against the Netherlands then Spain in Group B

When he walks out onto the Estadio Beira-Rio Thursday morning (AEST) to face the Netherlands, Cahill will be up against the only other players to score at the last three World Cups in Van Persie and Robben.

The hopes of Australia will be on his shoulders. And head.

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