The Socceroos have touched down in Newcastle ahead of their Asian Cup semi-final against tournament surprise packets the United Arab Emirates.
Ange Postecoglou’s men held a low-key recovery session upon yesterday's arrival in the Hunter following their quarter final victory over China on Thursday night.
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) January 23, 2015
Tim Cahill proved once again he is the man for the big occasion with a crucial brace against the Chinese, including a spectacular bicycle kick to break the deadlock at the start of the second half.
“Funny enough, my older brother texted me and told me I’d score two goals,” Cahill revealed.
“I won’t tell you what I said [in reply] but I believed we’d win and I knew I’d score.
“But it’s not cockiness, it’s actually you have to believe in yourself.”
Cahill’s heroics ensured the Socceroos’ passage to the semi-finals for the second straight Asian Cup, where they'll play the UAE after they stunned title-holders Japan in Sydney.
Mahdi Ali's side jumped to an early lead courtesy of a Ali Mabkhout strike and they hung on in extra-time to force penalties, after Japan had equalised late on.
Super-stars Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa both missed their spot kicks for Japan, while Ismail Ahmed held his nerve to seal a huge Asian Cup upset.
The shock result knocked the reigning champions out of the tourament and earned UAE a date with the Socceroos in Newcastle on Tuesday night for a spot in the final.
Despite Australia's unexpected opposition, the clash will no doubt be the biggest football match to be played in Newcastle and the first for nearly 20 years.
The Socceroos have not played an ‘A’ international in the Hunter since 1995, when they accounted for New Zealand 3-0 at Breakers Stadium.
Tickets for the semi-final have quickly been snapped up, with a final allocation going on sale at 10.00am Saturday AEDT, as the Socceroos prepare to play in front of another sold-out crowd.
For all the latest news from inside the Socceroos camp head to www.socceroos.com.au