Moscow: Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chairman Steven Lowy AM and CEO David Gallop have congratulated Tim Cahill on making his 100th appearance for the Socceroos in Sunday’s 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup clash with Chile.
“It was fantastic to see Tim reach the 100-cap milestone in front of the football world at the Confederations Cup,” Lowy said from Russia. “It was an occasion befitting Tim’s contribution to Australian football and the Socceroos.
“Playing 100 matches for the Socceroos is a tremendous achievement and on behalf of the entire football community I would like to congratulate Tim. He now joins Mark Schwarzer in a very illustrious group.”
Gallop added: “Tim has long been regarded as one of our greatest ever Socceroos and his performances transcend sport across the entire Australian community. When people think Australian football they think Tim Cahill and the impact he has had on Australian football is unrivalled – on and off the pitch.
“He rightfully takes his place on the very top shelf of Australian sport, not just Australian football.”
Cahill made his Socceroos debut against South Africa in March 2004 after a lengthy battle with FIFA to change National Team eligibility rules that at the time had him pegged to Western Samoa, for whom he made an appearance as an U-20 international as a 14-year-old.
He went on to represent Australia in every major international tournament including the 2004 Olympic Games, 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2007, 2011 and 2015 AFC Asian Cups but it was on the biggest stage in world football where he left his greatest impression.
In 2006, Cahill made Australian sporting history by becoming the first Australian to score a goal at the World Cup when he netted a brace in a breathtaking eight-minute period that also saw the Socceroos register their first win at the World Cup, a 3-1 triumph over Japan.
Another goal at the 2010 World Cup against Serbia reminded the world of his ability to make an impact on the biggest stage before he took it to another level at the 2014 World Cup.
His goal against the Netherlands in Brazil will be forever replayed in World Cup highlights but Cahill had earlier joined an illustrious group of players (Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Roberto Baggio, Jurgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthaus) to score at three consecutive World Cups when he netted in the opening match against Chile.
A goal for the Socceroos at the 2018 World Cup could see him join Brazilian legend Pele and Germany’s Uwe Seeler as the only men to score in four World Cups.
Cahill led the Socceroos into action in his 100th match at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow and was a driving force behind Australia's memorable performance against Chile, ending in a 1-1 draw.
Right from the opening whistle, the same character, class and tenacity that Cahill has exhibited in his career spread throughout the 11 Socceroos players who outplayed one of the world’s best football teams.
It was the perfect illustration of the way Ange Postecoglou wants the team to play and a fitting tribute to Cahill’s 100th Socceroos cap.
“It was fitting that Tim led the team as Captain against Chile,” Gallop added. “Throughout the last few years he has played a leadership role during the team's evolution under Ange Postecoglou and it added to his achievement that he walked onto the pitch for the 100th time as a Socceroo as the captain.”
Top 10 Socceroos A Internationals
109 Mark Schwarzer
100 Tim Cahill
98 Lucas Neill
95 Brett Emerton
87 Alex Tobin
84 Mark Bresciano
84 Paul Wade
80 Luke Wilkshire
76 Tony Vidmar
71 Mile Jedinak
Sources: Football Federation Australia & **Lagardère Sports**