Sydney: Tim Cahill's wonder strike was hailed as the goal of the tournament in Australia Thursday as the team bowed out of the World Cup with all guns blazing against the Netherlands.
Australians watched at home in the early hours of the morning as the Socceroos led the Dutch early in the second half in Porto Alegre before Holland scored twice to clinch a 3-2 victory. (Full match report)
But it was team talisman Cahill who dominated the headlines Down Under with his first-half strike that pundits labelled the best goal seen so far in Brazil.
"For four glorious second-half minutes it looked as if Australia might be on the verge of perhaps their greatest ever World Cup result when Mile Jedinak's penalty added to Tim Cahill's first-half wonder strike to put them 2-1 up against the rampaging Netherlands," the Sydney Morning Herald said.
"But the Dutch were able to gather themselves, draw level and finally see off the gallant challenge of their indefatigable opponents, who, in contrast to their opening match, at no stage looked overawed and gave a marvellous account of themselves."
Cahill scored his fifth World Cup finals goal, a spectacular volley, with the media calling the 34-year-old, playing at his third World Cup, Australia's greatest ever player.
"The veteran frontman scored what might be the goal of the World Cup with a sumptuous left-footed volley which rattled the cross bar before bulging the net to bring Australia level with The Netherlands," The Herald said.
"It is, however, surely the last World Cup goal Australia's talisman will ever strike as he is suspended from the final game."
Australia will play Spain in their final game without Cahill after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament.
The Australian newspaper said the Socceroos out-played, out-thought and out-ran the Dutch for large parts of the game.
"Once again, Tim Cahill was a hero for the Socceroos, scoring his fifth World Cup goal and surely etching his name as the country's greatest player of all time," the newspaper said.
Social media was abuzz, with Cahill the centre of Twitter attention.
"Tim Cahill has now scored more World Cup goals (5) than Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney combined (4)," tweeted one Australian fan.
"The last time we'll see Tim Cahill at a World Cup. Thank you, now without a shadow of a doubt, our greatest ever," said another.
One tweet summed up the national mood: "And now, once the dust has settled, the sobering realisation that we were so, so close. Oh football, you are a cruel mistress!"