The Qantas Socceroos’ most celebrated match winner was a picture of tranquility when outlining Australia’s path to the FIFA World Cup.
The Qantas Socceroos- most celebrated match winner was a picture of tranquility when outlining Australia-s path to the FIFA World Cup.
With 61 games in green and gold and the third most international goals (27) of any player to represent Australia, Cahill is just the type to thrive on the atmosphere that will greet the Qantas Socceroos on Tuesday.
The Qantas Socceroos- qualification hopes are in the balance but by adopting a relaxed and measured approach, Australia has the quality to reach its third consecutive FIFA World Cup, according to the 33-year-old.
“I speak to a lot of the lads, yesterday I was sitting with Rogic and Franjic as well and we were just talking about, in general, about enjoying it, embracing this,” Cahill said.
“You can also put a lot of pressure on yourself, when it-s football, it-s what we love to do.
“We-re a part of a big group, good players, good staff and making sure they enjoy training, enjoy the environment we-re in and not focusing on any negatives.”
Though Saitama Stadium will be packed with some 60,000 spectators on Tuesday, Cahill believes the atmosphere won-t be a hostile one.
Four years ago, the Qantas Socceroos faced Japan in similar circumstances at Yokohama-s 66,000-capacity International Stadium.
That occasion was clearly dealt with by the Qantas Socceroos of -09 (including current squad members Mark Bresciano, Cahill, Brett Holman, Josh Kennedy, Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer and Luke Wilkshire), who recorded a crucial 0-0 draw en route to booking their place in South Africa.
“I don-t know whether it-s going to be a hostile atmosphere because last time I played here was tens of thousands and it was fantastic - I really had a great buzz about it,” said Cahill.
“I want to make sure the boys are relaxed and understand that the eleven, to fifteen, twenty players selected, it-s about us as a team.
“Two forty five minutes, it-ll probably go for ninety five minutes or something, getting what we can.
“There-s obviously a chance for both teams and it could work either way but let-s see what happens.”
While Cahill is representative of the star power that will be on show for the visitors on Tuesday, the Qantas Socceroos themselves have targeted Manchester United attacker Shinji Kagawa as the hosts- danger man.
“I think going off recent performances and the season he had, probably Shinji Kagawa would have to be (Japan-s) number one,” said striker Alex Brosque, who played two successful seasons in the local J.League with Shimizu S-Pulse.
“He-s such a special player and the season he had this year, at a club like Manchester United, just shows how special he is.
“He-s definitely one that we have to worry about, they played a few of their big names the other night against Bulgaria, it was a good opportunity for us to see them in a more recent match.”
Midfielder James Holland - a possible direct opponent of Kagawa-s on Tuesday - has had experience against the English Premier League ace at youth level.
“Kagawa, obviously, is a really good player,” said Holland.
“I watched a lot of him when he was in Germany (with Borussia Dortmund), when I was coming up with the young (Australian) teams I played against him.
“He-s a very, very good player.”
The Qantas Socceroos- FIFA World Cup qualification campaign continues on Tuesday, 4 June at Saitama Stadium, where they will meet the challenge of Japan. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time (8.30pm AEST).
The Qantas Socceroos will conclude the current stage of Asian qualifiers upon their return home, firstly to face Jordan at Melbourne-s Docklands Stadium on Tuesday, 11 June. Kick off is at 7pm AEST.
Finally, the Qantas Socceroos will host Iraq at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 18 June. Kick off is at 7.30pm AEST.