84th Minute, Tim Cahill, Australia v Japan 2006 World Cup 2006 Group Stage.
Tim Cahill and Australia had quite an emotional journey on the path to reach the World Cup in Germany in 2006. Australia had been denied in an intercontinental play-off four times in succession before finally overcoming Uruguay in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in November 2005. Football had struggled to gain significant popularity since it was introduced in Australia in the nineteenth century. But this Australian side would capture the hearts of the nation and one of its key figures was attacking midfielder/forward Tim Cahill. Cahill had moved to England when he was just sixteen, seeking a professional contract whilst promising his family that he would make it so his parents wouldn’t have to work again. Millwall took the chance and he repaid them (and eventually that promise to his parents) with many a match winning display, including getting his team to the FA Cup final in 2004. Cahill also grabbed goals for Australia and went into the 2006 World Cup as one of their star players but was named on the bench by manager Guus Hiddink for their first game against Japan. Cahill entered the field of play in the 52nd minute with Australia trailing 1-0 to a controversial goal in the first half. Australia were the better side for the majority of the game but couldn’t find a breakthrough.
In the 84th minute, a long throw from Lucas Neill causes the Japanese goalkeeper to come and try and deal with it but he completely misses the ball and it falls to Harry Kewell who has his shot blocked but Cahill is there to turn the ball home. It marked Australia’s first ever goal in the World Cup finals.
What Happened Next?
Tim Cahill popped up again 5 minutes later, this time curling a beautiful shot in-off the post from the edge of the area. John Alosi added a third to give Australia their first ever win in the World Cup Finals. The Socceroos did fall to defeat against Brazil in their next game but they followed it up with a draw against Croatia to reach the 2nd round where they felt a great injustice in losing to a 95th minute penalty from Francisco Totti. Cahill made a major impact in the English Premier League with Everton and now plays in the MLS for New York Red Bulls. The man from Sydney is also Australia’s leading goal scorer of all-time. He remains Australia’s star player and main hope for any surprises they may spring in Group B in Brazil.