Tim Cahill staked his claim for Goal of the Tournament with a thumping left-foot volley during Australia’s 3-2 defeat to the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Having grabbed headlines around the world, the New York Red Bulls striker ranked his exquisite strike alongside the efforts of Dutch legends Marco van Basten and Robin van Persie.
“When you look at your idols like Marco van Basten and even Robin van Persie, they’re the sort of goals they score,” Cahill said.
“You dream as a kid for these opportunities.
“At home in my garden I score like that everyday but this is what’s it’s all about.”
Cahill was renowned for his tremendous ability in the air during eight goal-laden years with Everton in the Premier League, but this left-foot strike will go down as one of his most spectacular.
“When the ball was flying over normally people expect me to jump and head that from 18 yards but it just sat so beautifully off the shoulder of the defender and I struck it and it went in.”
The Socceroos approached the fixture in search of three points to give them a chance of progressing to the last 16, but Cahill’s wondrous volley was not enough to prevent a second consecutive exit at the group stage. But the relentless Aussies did not go down without a fight in either of their Group B encounters in Brazil, pushing both Chile and Louis van Gaal’s Dutch side to hard-fought victories.
Despite conceding first in both defeats, Cahill’s men dragged themselves back into the match on both occasions and even led Arjen Robben and Co. 2-1 early in the second half.
“I’ve always said we need to be fearless and not take a backward step and regardless of going down 1-0 I though we had the game,” said Cahill.
The skipper holds the current cohort of Australian players in exceptionally high regard, citing tactical nous and work ethic as the foundations of their unexpected success.
“I’m so proud of this team — the kids. It’s probably one of the best Socceroos teams I’ve ever been a part.
“We know our jobs, we don’t lose sight of the tactics and what we have to do and the way we build up.”
Suspension will force Cahill to miss the Socceroos’ final Group B fixture against Spain, meaning the 34-year-old is almost certain to have made his final World Cup appearance.
The striker was booked against both Chile and the Dutch, but he insists playing without fear and apathy is more important than turning out one last time against the Spanish next Monday.
“No, no sadness. I play for today not tomorrow,” the former Everton star said.
“If I’m going out there to save myself from a yellow card then I shouldn’t be here.
“I play for moments and in my lifetime I’ve got five of the best moments.”
Currently the top goalscorer for his country with 34 goals in 71 senior caps, Cahill walks away from his final World Cup campaign with his head held high in light of two admirable performances.
“I’m very proud because this is my last World Cup and I wanted to leave everything here and as a nation we’ve really earned the respect of the world today.
“So we’ll see what we can do against Spain because we’re not going to take a backward step.”
Vicente del Bosque’s team remarkably bundled out of the competition after match day two of Group B with no points and a miserable goal difference of minus six.
Despite entering the tournament among the favourites to lift the trophy, the defending champions suffered an embarrassing 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Netherlands before losing 2-0 to Chile on Wednesday.
The Chileans and Holland have secured qualification to the knockout stages of the tournament with six points apiece, and will face off for top spot next Monday.
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