FILE - In this June 15, 2018 file photo, Australia forward Tim Cahill, center, runs during Australia's official training for the group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Needing goals, Australia could call upon veteran Cahill

June 24, 2018 - 7:07 am
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Needing a win and plenty of goals to stay in contention at the World Cup, Australia could finally call upon veteran Tim Cahill.

The 38-year-old striker has a chance to make his debut in Russia on Tuesday when Australia plays Peru.

The Socceroos need to beat already-eliminated Peru and hope France beats Denmark in the other Group C match. If that happens, goal differential would determine which team moves on to the next round along with the French.

Cahill knows a thing or two about scoring in soccer's showcase event. He can become only the fifth player to score in four World Cups, joining Pele, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"If Timmy's been called upon, no doubt he'll do a (good) job for us," Australia defender Aziz Behich said. "Timmy is a true professional, it shows the way he works on the pitch in training every day and he's just a proper example for all of us, not just the young boys. Mentally, he's always strong and ready to go, so we love having Tim as a part of our group and we all know what he can do."

A spot in the Australia attack opened when forward Andrew Nabbout dislocated his shoulder in the 1-1 draw against Denmark, and Cahill is a contender to fill it along with Tomi Juric and Jamie Maclaren.

"We have three strikers that are chomping at the bit at the minute to put their hand up for this next match," midfielder Mark Milligan said. "While I'm sure (Cahill) is frustrated that he's not had his shot yet, the amount of help that he gives to the players around him ... is unbelievable."

Scorer of Australia's first World Cup goal — against Japan in 2006 — Cahill is the nation's all-time leading scorer with 50 goals in 106 appearances. He netted two goals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and another two in the 2014 tournament in Brazil. He had one goal in South Africa in 2010.

FINDING GOALS

Even with Cahill on the team, scoring has not been an easy task for Australia in World Cups recently.

Its last three goals in the tournament have come from penalty kicks, including two from captain Mile Jedinak in Russia.

Australia is only the second team in World Cup history to score three consecutive goals from the penalty spot. Ghana did it from 2006-2010.

TRUST IN FRANCE

The Australians, who lost 2-1 to France in their opening game, had no concerns about the group-leading French holding back against Denmark.

"That's totally out of our hands but what we do know is that they will go into that match to win," Milligan said. "France has quality right through their squad."

Behich said Australia needed to focus on doing its job and let everything else fall into place.

"I believe that France will do the job against Denmark but we have got to focus on ourselves because we have got a tough task ahead," he said.

France has already secured a place in the knockout round, and Denmark only needs a draw to ensure it goes ahead regardless of the result between Australia and Peru.

Australia is trying to advance out of the group stage for the first time since 2006.

INJURY SCARE

Peru has played well in both of its matches but got no points to show for it.

The South Americans will likely be without striker Jefferson Farfan, who was hospitalized with head trauma after a hard collision with a teammate during practice on Saturday.

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