Ahead of Wednesday night’s winner-takes-all World Cup qualifier in Sydney, record-breaking Socceroos goalscorer Tim Cahill says he is ready to start against Honduras.
Despite sustaining an ankle injury on just over a week ago, Cahill still flew to Honduras for the first leg of the intercontinental play-off and even though he didn’t play, the 38-year-old was an ever-present figure for the Socceroos.
Now back in Sydney for the second leg, the question of whether the veteran striker will play will dominate discussion ahead of Wednesday night.
Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou also has Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse and Mark Milligan in contention to play and although Cahill said he was fit, he wouldn’t speculate on whether he would be starting.
“That’s not really my say, but I feel great,” he said.
“If I had to play in Honduras then I would’ve made a contribution and that’s what it’s all about - putting your body on the line and sacrificing these two games for our country on such a big occasion, being our fourth consecutive chance of getting to another World Cup.
“It’s been an awesome preparation leading into this last game and now going into this one. We have two training sessions and I’m looking to be fully involved in those and ready for selection.”
Heading into the first leg away to Honduras, many saw the Socceroos as underdogs. But armed with a 0-0 result, Australia is in the box seat to make Russia 2018 and Cahill believes that will happen if the Aussies stick to their game plan.
“I’m not fazed about this game,” he said. “I am more worried about the group of players and making sure that I can help the younger players prepare mentally and physically for the occasion.
“For us it’s about staying true to what our beliefs [are] and the philosophy of our football. That’s what’s got us here and also our strengths - and that’s pretty much possession and keeping the ball.
“We’ve got fresh faces coming in, who knows what the boss is going to do on the day.
"But we know as a group of players that all of us are going to get our opportunity in some shape or form and if we don’t it’s so important that we keep the leaders leading the guys from the outside, whether you are playing or not playing.”
While Honduras did not perform as expected at home they will not be easy beats. The Central Americans are only one of two countries who have been able to defeat Mexico away.
That victory in 2013 speaks to their ability to get a result under-pressure, even so Cahill said the Socceroos are more than prepared to meet the challenge.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone has done before,” he said. “What matters is what we do on Wednesday night and I feel that is the most important thing.
“This is about the football we play on Wednesday night and who is going to show up and not let the occasion over-ride them and who is going to rise to the occasion and be able to get to another World Cup.
“So, we are well-drilled and we are ready for this and it’s definitely our time now.”