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Most Aussie soccer fans are familiar with the legend of Tim Cahill. He is Australia’s all-time leading scorer, managing to hit the back of the net 50 times in 108 appearances. That’s quite an achievement, which gives us a rather large selection to consider when filtering things down to our top five Cahill moments. Mind you, we feel we’ve been able to do it, so let’s get started with moment number one:
Five Tim Cahill moments that made us all go ‘wow’
First Aussie World Cup goal
You have to rewind the clock back to 2006 for this moment, but it is probably the most special of them all, for both fans and Cahill. This would be the first of many World Cup goals for Cahill, but since it was Australia’s first ever World Cup goal in the main draw, it had to make our list. Playing in the opener against Japan, Cahill knocked in a strike in the 84th minute to go down in Aussie soccer history. Given that this goal tied up the game at 1-1, Aussies would have probably taken a draw in the way that things were going.
But Tim Cahill being the striker he was, decided that Australia could go on to win the game, and he was the man to make it happen. Five minutes later, he knocked home the game winner, netting Australia all 3 points while sinking two in the same game. So while he became the first World Cup goal scorer, he also helped Australia to win their first main draw World Cup game too. Not a bad start for the guy, right?
Bicycle kick – quarter-finals of Asian Cup
It’s well documented that Cahill could score goals from all over the pitch, but he was typically known for strong headers and short-range strikes. However, Cahill mixed up his playbook in this truly memorable moment, where he spanked a bicycle kick to give Australia the lead against China in the quarter-finals. Watching the clip today still gives us goosebumps, and nobody believed he would make it until he made that sweet connection with his boot. The keeper had absolutely no chance, and Cahill added to China’s misery by netting another goal later in the game to give Australia a 2-0 win.
His performance and energy in the quarter-finals carried Australia to a momentous tournament victory too, although this was definitely one of his best goals of the tournament, and indeed his career. Since this was followed up by his traditional shadow boxing near the corner flag, it’s a goal that all Aussies could probably watch again and again.
Becoming Australia’s leading scorer
Of course, these days we all know that Tim Cahill is the nation’s top scorer of all time. But until he hung up his boots, the question of ‘how many goals has Tim Cahill scored for Australia’ remained an ongoing fairytale. On that note, who could forget when he managed to surpass Damian Mori’s previous record in 2014? During a World Cup friendly against Ecuador, Cahill was tied with Mori on 29 goals prior to kick-off, but this record was soon broken when he went ahead and scored twice in the first half.
This took him to 31 goals in total, and even if Australia ultimately lost that friendly game by 4 goals to 3, there was still cause for celebration in the Aussie camp. But let’s be honest, who would have thought at the time that he would go on to score 19 more goals in that green and gold shirt?
The Netherlands volley
During the 2014 World Cup, Cahill participated in a group stage game against the Netherlands, and it’s a game that the entire world would never forget. Having gone 1-0 down early in the game, the Socceroos backs were against the wall, but this is when Cahill likes to step up and hunt down goals like his life depends on it. This was shown by the unbelievable volley he then hit home to level the game at 1-1. The ball was crossed in from deep to find Cahill, who ultimately met the ball with a seriously strong kick with his left boot.
It’s all the more impressive that the ball was passed from deep in the field, meaning he had to connect with the ball as it was moving away from him. The stadium absolutely erupted when he managed to score this volley, and even pundits still hail this as one of the best World Cup goals to have ever been scored. Despite the fact that Australia lost the game by a score of 3-2, this goal was still a tremendous highlight that still lives on in the memories of Aussie soccer fans.
Scoring in three straight World Cup events
Being the first Australian to score a World Cup goal is one thing, but managing to do this in three separate World Cup tournaments, consecutively, is just out of this world. Of course, his campaign for scoring World Cup goals started back in 2006, but in the 2014 opener against Chile, Cahill surpassed all expectations and hit home yet another international goal to achieve his World Cup hat-trick. It’s all the more impressive that during this tournament he was just as explosive and imposing as he had been 8 years prior, showing that he was hungry for even more international goals on the big stage.
And if you wanted a bit more information as to what category this put Cahill in, he joined guys like Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin Van Persie who had also scored for three World Cup competitions in a row. Sure, he might not have been as great as guys like Ronaldo, but his influence and impact on Australian soccer success is just undeniable.
He did go on to play in the 2018 World Cup for the Socceroos too, but at this point, it was clear that Cahill had reached the twilight of his career. Sadly, he had little impact, but he’s still remembered as an all-time great.