Archie Thompson believes TIm Cahill is as important to Australia as David Beckham was to England at his peak.
Qantas Socceroos striker Archie Thompson has lauded the superb effort of Tim Cahill as the reason the national team avoided an embarrassing and crushing home defeat against Oman at ANZ Stadium.
Thompson like many of his teammates and his coach paying tribute to Cahill and his happy knack of scoring for the national side when it matters most.
Down 2-0 after Mile Jedinak turned the ball into his own net, the Socceroos were looking at their dreams of a third straight World Cup finals appearance going up in smoke, when just three minutes later in the 51st minute, Cahill headed home past Ali Al-Habsi, the Oman goal to bring the score back to 2-1.
The goal changing the tenor of the match completely, Thompson was full of praise for the national team talisman.
“I thought Timmy was fantastic tonight and he always steps up for the big matches, but one person can-t take a team to the World Cup, we all have to chip in,” Thompson said
“That just shows the quality of the guy, he pops up when you need him and inspired a comeback there, he chased back and worked hard, to me it was almost like watching Beckham against Greece for England to qualify, he pretty much took it upon himself.”
Fellow striker, Robbie Kruse agreed with Thompson-s assessment also heaping praise on the man they call ‘Super Tim-.
“He is an inspirational character in the team and you see it in every time the ball comes in there, he is going to win it, it-s not just headers, he was a deserving man of the match tonight,” Kruse said.
Thompson also heaped praise on former Premier League rival turned international rival Ali Al-Habsi for keeping Oman in the game with a string of superb saves keeping Australia from claiming an unlikely victory.
“Al Habsi was brilliant tonight and I thought they defended fantastic, we knew they were going to defend, drop quite deep and make it difficult for us but when they scored it made it harder.”
As good as Al-Habsi and his defence were one thing Thompson didn't enjoy was the sight of Oman players rolling around on the turf as if they had been snipered down, only to be stretchered off and then come back on.
The tactic which is rife throughout Asian football angering a number of the Socceroos including Tim Cahill, who could be seen reacting angrily on the pitch and coach Hoger Osieck who was incensed on the sidelines and warned by the fourth official for his protestations.
“It-s something we have to battle with in all our Asian matches, especially against the teams from the Middle East who tend to go down like they have been hit in the back of the neck and tend to stay down till the stretcher comes,” Thompson said.
“It-s frustrating for Australia, it-s frustrating for supporters, frustrating for us as players, because we want to play at a good tempo, but that-s what we have to deal with and it-s disappointing because from a supporters point of view, who doesn-t watch the game too often, I think it ruins the game.”
While it was Cahill and Brett Holman who provided the goals in spectacular fashion, Thompson lamented that he didn-t play a bigger role throughout the match, admitting sitting on the bench during a first half that former Socceroo Mark Bosnich described as “pathetic” was quite difficult and that he wanted to do more when he came on the field.
“It was difficult to watch,” Thompson said. “When you have prepared hard all week and trained like we did it deflates you, then we came out positive in the second half and give away a silly goal like that, again you seem deflated, but we showed some grit and got back into it.
“I-d like to have scored, to have had an immediate impact, I was a little stretched and not close enough to make my usual runs, but I-ll run myself into the ground to get a result for this team.”