There has been plenty of wailing, rending of garments and gnashing of teeth over the inclusion of striker Tim Cahill, who has done exactly nothing at the club level of late, as a member of the Socceroos at the expense of in-form Hibernian Jamie Maclaren, but the inclusion of Cahill in the final group for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is not yet assured.
Perhaps Cahill is deserving and his past exploits seem to suggest that he is able to summon a higher level when the size of the stage expands, but if he is to play in Russia and prove that he deserves anything other than emeritus status, he will have to score at least one goal in Russia, in order to join the elite group of Pele, Klose and Seeler to score at four World Cups.
As much as anyone appreciates Cahill and his contributions, however, no one can be taken seriously if they suggest that Cahill’s name belongs in the same sentence as Brazil’s Pele and the two Germans. We just engaged in a bit of writer trickery there to avoid that very sentence by referring to Klose and Seeler as Germans, rather than by name.
There are some who are suggesting that Cahill playing in Russia is monetarily driven.
Football Federation Chief David Gallop’s rapid repudiation of those claims may actually have lent fuel to that argument, much as Cahill has lent his name to Socceroos’ sponsor Caltex for the banner of a petrol station in North Ryde.
“I say ‘have a look at Timmy’s track record’,” Gallop told reporters on Tuesday.“I don’t think anyone can mock the fact that he is in the 26.”
What happens if Bert van Marwijk culls Cahill when the drop from 26 to 23 is made?
No one will buy any petrol from Caltex. That will not happen in this lifetime.
It would appear that Cahill would come off the bench in Russia.
Perhaps late in the game, when Les Bleue have a comfortable margin, they will let Cahill put one in so that he can be enshrined alongside the Brazilian and the Germans.