When Tim Cahill joined the New York Red Bulls from Premiership club Everton, he had a clear goal; keeping himself in a competitive environment to preserve his body for the 2014 — and 2018 World Cup.
After Australia’s ouster on Tuesday, it became clear he would only be able to fulfill half of that goal.
Despite enjoying an outstanding performance in Brazil, Cahill has revealed this will indeed be his last World Cup.
“Regardless of results today, we made a massive step forward in Australian soccer as a team and a nation,” Cahill said through his Instagram account. “We came to this World Cup to play positive football and leave a strong footprint of what the future could bring.
“I play every game like it’s my last, and yes, this is my last World Cup, but I will leave this World Cup with memories that will live on forever.”
Such an announcement wouldn’t be a surprise from any other 34-year-old, but this is Tim Cahill. Despite serving as one of the elder statesmen of the World Cup, the Socceroos legend more than held his own in the competition, scoring two of three Australian goals while leading his team in a near-upset of tournament heavyweight, Netherlands.
His stunning World Cup run does come to an end on a sour note. Not only is Australia out of the competition, but yellow card accumulation has also made Cahill’s Netherland performance his last. The Socceroos will go ahead in their final match against Spain without their talismanic striker.
Despite his early exit, Cahill says he feels “no sadness” over his decisions.
“I play for today, not tomorrow,” he tells the Sydney Morning Herald. “If I’m going to save myself from a yellow card, then I shouldn’t be here.
“I play for moments, and in my lifetime, I’ve got five of the best moments of my life, and [the Netherlands' goal] was the fifth goal in my World Cup life. When the ball was flying over, normally people expect me to head that from 18 yards. But it just sat so beautifully, off the shoulder of the defender, and I struck it and it went in and that’s what football is all about — moments like these. What better place to do it than in the home of football in Brazil.
“This is the end for me in the World Cup but, overall, I’m proud of these boys, every single one of them.”