Tim Cahill Puts Emotions Aside in 'Hometown' Tie

Updated: 12 January 2015 15:53 IST

Tim Cahill, who retains his goal-scoring knack at 35, will lead Australia against Oman in Sydney on Tuesday in the absence of injured skipper Mile Jedinak

Tim Cahill Puts Emotions Aside in 'Hometown' Tie
Tim Cahill will stand in as Australia captain. © AFP

Sydney:

Tim Cahill Monday called it a "massive honour" to captain Australia in his home city but he promised to leave emotions aside with an Asian Cup quarter-final spot on the line.

The ex-Premier League striker, who retains his goal-scoring knack at 35, will lead the Socceroos against Oman in Sydney on Tuesday in the absence of injured skipper Mile Jedinak.

But the Sydney native said he would not let the occasion get to him as Australia seek the victory that could put them into the last eight, and three wins from the title.

"It's amazing, I love playing for Australia regardless of which country I'm in but to play at home, in front of my hometown fans and obviously family and friends is very special," Cahill told reporters.

"But with me, not a lot of emotion comes into it when I cross that white line. I feel that it's going to be a massive game for us... there's a lot on the line.

"We just want to do our country proud and do really well."

Despite the loss of Jedinak, confidence is high in the Australian camp after Friday's 4-1 win over Kuwait left them on the brink of the quarter-finals.

Australia will guarantee their place in the knock-out stages on Tuesday if they win and South Korea defeat Kuwait earlier in the day.

Coach Ange Postecoglou said he would make "at least a couple" of changes to his starting line-up as he tries to keep his players fresh.

But Australia will be wary of Paul Le Guen's much improved Oman, against whom they have lost and drawn twice in their last three meetings.

"History means nothing when you go into a game like this," said Cahill, Australia's record goal-scorer with 37 for his country.

"I feel we approach it in the same way we do every game and that's professional, prepared mentally and physically. And we just need to make sure we do things right on the pitch."

Sydney fans expecting another big win may have to be patient with Cahill, who scored the equaliser on Friday, warning Oman will "literally have 11 players behind the ball".

However, the atmosphere is clearly much changed among the Socceroos, who came into the tournament with a record of just one win in 2014 and a world ranking of 100.

"I understand the way these teams play. They're either going to close me down or they're going to give me space and if not, I'm going to create space for someone else," Cahill said.

"It was like waiting for a bus the other night. When it comes and you can get that right contact, it feels great."

Postecoglou also praised his team's attacking approach against Kuwait, exemplified by James Troisi's 92nd-minute goal when they were already 3-1 up.

"Australians want their sporting teams to play like that and we're Australian," he said.

"I know it's not going to please the purists but I'm happy to win 7-3, 8-3 if it means winning games of football and we're attacking teams."

Topics : Australia Tim Cahill Football
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