Aus­tralian star con­fi­dent of World Cup berth de­spite slow start

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Tim Cahill re­mains con­fi­dent that Aus­tralia will qual­ify for next year’s World Cup in Rus­sia de­spite a run of four straight draws that has seen the side fall three points be­hind the lead­ers in their fi­nal round group.

Aus­tralia are on 10 points from six matches, three be­hind Saudi Ara­bia and Ja­pan, and with only two teams ad­vanc­ing au­to­mat­i­cally to the fi­nals, the Soc­ceroos can ill af­ford to slip up at home to the United Arab Emi­rates to­mor­row.

The UAE are just a point adrift of their Syd­ney hosts head­ing into the en­counter and a win for the vis­i­tors would see them leapfrog Aus­tralia and move into the third place spot that of­fers a route to the fi­nals via two play­off rounds.

Cahill, how­ever, has urged Aus­tralia sup­port­ers to re­main calm with the 37-year-old at­tack­ing mid­fielder keen to point out that the side have won two and drawn six of their matches so far, and have a for­mi­da­ble home record.

“We went months and months with­out win­ning a game be­fore we lifted the 2015 Asian Cup,” Cahill told re­porters.

“I un­der­stand the process a bit bet­ter than some peo­ple. I’m a lot more ed­u­cated as a player and as a per­son. I’m quite calm. We’re un­de­feated and I won’t be flinch­ing much now.”

Aus­tralia have lost just one home qual­i­fier in 56 matches dat­ing back to 1981, a 1-0 de­feat to China in a dead rub­ber nine years ago, a record that fills the for­mer Mill­wall and Ever­ton player with plenty of be­lief.

“The way we play and the dam­age we’ve caused teams in the past... we’re re­ally go­ing to put them un­der a lot of pres­sure,” he said.

“It’s a very in­tim­i­dat­ing place for them to come. It will be dif­fi­cult for them and that’s life.

“(But the home record) means noth­ing. All that mat­ters is this week.”

Cahill scored the win­ner off the bench in the re­verse fix­ture in Abu Dhabi last Septem­ber and he has no is­sues with the likely prospect of start­ing next week’s fix­ture among Ange Postecoglou’s sub­sti­tutes once more.

“When asked, I’m al­ways ready to con­trib­ute,” he added. “The boss knows what’s right for us.” Reuters

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