Cahill upbeat about Socceroos
Tim Cahill was upbeat and optimistic about the Socceroos in media conference with Bert van Marwijk prior to the Colombia match27 March 2018 | FT Editor
It didn't take long. 13 minutes for Socceroos coach, Bert van Marwijk, and Australia's most prolific goalscorer, Tim Cahill, to conduct the obligatory media conference prior to the match against Colombia being played on Wednesday morning Australian time.
Coming off a less than impressive display against Norway on Saturday, it was a quiet but steady van Marwijk alongside a more upbeat and optimistic Cahill.
Even though he's only played 39 minutes all year, Cahill said he is not concerned about his spot in the World Cup in June.
Reflecting the view of past Socceroos coaches, for example Pim Verbeek, as well as players such as Mark Schwarzer, Cahill intimated again that training in the Championship in England is better than playing in the A-League.
“[Not playing] is only a worry if you don’t train hard and you don’t work hard,” Cahill said.
“My set goal is to be myself and I will try my hardest to take every opportunity in the next six weeks that’s coming up.
“I feel that there’s eight games in six weeks that I know I can contribute to. I know as long as I’m training and in the environment I can add a lot on and off the park.”
It is the case that Millwall hasn't lost a game since Cahill joined the squad, and Millwall and Socceroos team mate, James Meredith, credits him as being a one-man motivation machine.
Cahill also said he wants the Socceroos to contribute to restoring sporting pride to Australia - if not by results, then at least by the way they play and what they stand for. He said that whoever is selected for the match on Tuesday night in London is “ready to play.”
“It would be good for us if we can get a result against a top team.”
Cahill said he was saddened by the ball tampering incident in Australian cricket.
“It’s a sad moment for Australian sport. We’re very proud of where we come from. It’s time now to make right for Australian sport as a whole.”
Van Marwijk said there will be a few changes to the team that takes the park on Wednesday morning.
Goalkeepers Brad Jones and Danny Vukovic will each play 45 minutes, while Cahill, Meredith as well as A-League players Josh Risdon and Josh Brillante are expected to be given some game time. Trent Sainsbury and Matt Jurman have returned to their clubs as they are still nursing injuries.
Journalist David Davutovic has also reported that he expects Aleksandar Susnjar to be handed a starting debut with the challenging task of marketing Colombia's Bayern Munich superstar James Rodriguez, who was one of the newcomer hits of the 2014 World Cup.
Van Marwijk said he thought the squad had responded well after the Oslo debacle.
“Its not the end of the world,” Van Marwijk said.
“I said a few words, and when I look at the team now, I think they are more open.
“The message was also that it's good that you listen to the coaches, but it's good that you have your own initiative.”
Cahill also did not express concern about the Norway result.
“When you transition into new management, and you only have a short space of time, the reality of it is about getting to know each other.”
As well as the likes of Rodriguez, Colombia's squad includes Radamel Falcao who has scored 25 goals in 33 appearances for Monaco this season, and Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez.
The gap between the two sides in rankings is large with Colombia steady for some months at 13, and Australia currently at 37.
Although qualifying for the 2018 tournament was a struggle for both teams, Colombia has some support in World Cup betting odds 2018 because of the fact that they reached the quarter-finals in 2014, their two star players in Rodriguez and Falcao, and their relatively 'easy' group opponents. Like van Marwijk who has experience at a World Cup, Colombia's coach, Jose Pekerman, has also taken his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in Germany 2006.
Colombia's World Cup group also includes Poland (ranked 6 in the world), Senegal (27) and Japan (55). Australia meets France (9), Denmark (12) and Peru (11) in the group stage.