Cahill wears his Pacific heritage with pride
The only Pacific islander playing in the FIFA World Cup is not only representing Australia and his Samoan heritage. He’s also holding his own against the world’s best. The likes of Christian Karembeu (New Caledonian/France) and Wynton Rufer (Maori/ New Zealand) graced soccer’s flagship event in 1998 and 1982, but not with the same impact as Australia’s Tim Filiga Cahill who has played in three World Cups and scored in each one. Australians are hailing him as their best ever soccer player after his heroic feats for the Socceroos at the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
The 34 year-old Samoan soccer star set the World Cup alight in June with two sensational goals against Chile and The Netherlands. His second goal against the Dutch – a powerful volley off his left foot – has been described as the best goal of the tournament by the world’s media. It was Cahill’s fifth goal in a World Cup making him one of just eight players in history to have scored goals in three consecutive World Cup tournaments – two against Japan in 2006 (Germany), one against Serbia in 2010 (South Africa) and two against Chile and The Netherlands in 2014 (Brazil). This feat put him in illustrious company and cemented his name alongside legends, Roberto Baggio, Robin van Persie, Jurgen Klinsmann and Pele. He is also Australia’s all-time leading goal scorer with 34 goals, a record he made his own in a 4-3 loss to Ecuador back in March when he bagged a double.
Although Australia failed to win their pool games against Chile and Netherlands, Cahill’s heroics inspiration of a young and inexperienced Socceroos outfit from the front is now written in folklore. A second yellow card meant he would miss Australia’s final pool game against 2010 FIFA World Cup champs Spain, forcing the Socceroos to play on without their one true world class player. Australia’s 3-2 loss to the Netherlands may have been Tim Cahill’s last World Cup match, but he left his mark on the game, and he has no regrets about missing the Socceroos final game against Spain. “I capped my World Cups off with one of the most memorable moments in my lifetime, one of the goals everyone is talking about as one of the goals of the tournament,” Cahill said. “You never go into a title fight thinking you are going to lose and when you get that one chance you have to take it. And in the defining moments in my career, that has made a difference to me.”
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