Cahill ready for underhanded tactics
Tim Cahill is expecting the Chileans to try and put him off his game with some underhanded tactics at the World Cup and the Socceroos striker says to bring it on.
The Chilean squad is the shortest at the World Cup, making Cahill’s aerial strength in the box an even more potent threat than usual in the crucial opening clash in Cuiaba on Friday (Saturday morning AEST).
“I know for a fact that they’ll have someone, or a few holding and shirt pulling and things like that to put me off my game. But that’s no different to what I’ve had in the past,” he said.
“It’s a competition where a little nudge can change the way you head a ball or the way you attack a ball or even defend a ball.
“So it will be no different to the way we’re going to be and for us we’re up for every single battle. We’re going to stand up and be counted.
“Hopefully the referees clamp down on it.”
At 176cm, the Chileans sit at the bottom of the list for average squad height but Cahill says size doesn’t matter and it would be a mistake to underestimate how strong they are in the air.
“A few of those players can actually jump quite high,” said Cahill.
“Watching them attack in corners and set players I’ve been pretty impressed with the amount of leverage they can get.
“I know that you don’t have to be big to jump that high.
“It’s all about where you put the ball at the end of that jump.”
Chile’s key midfielder Arturo Vidal is set to miss the clash with inflammation on his knee after having surgery last month.
But the Juventus star was reported to have rejoined team training on Wednesday and appeared to be moving well.
Cahill said he wouldn’t be surprised if creating doubt about Vidal’s availability was just a tactical move from coach Jorge Sampaoli.
“It may be a tactical advantage for them, maybe he’ll show up on the day and play,” Cahill said.
“So for us we have to worry about ourselves. Vidal is a player that brings a lot to their team but at the same time, whoever steps in can do just as good a job as he can.”
The South Americans will still start as short-priced favourites in the opening-round clash in the brutally tough Group B.
Chile are 14th on the FIFA rankings, while the Socceroos have slipped to 62nd, the lowest of the 32 teams at the World Cup finals.
Australia’s other two round-robin opponents, Spain and the Netherlands, meet earlier on Friday (Saturday AEST) in Salvador.
The Socceroos had their first partially closed training session on Wednesday since arriving to Brazil as they try to fine-tune their gameplan for Friday away from prying eyes.
All 23 squad members have been declared fit with veteran playmaker Mark Bresciano, who has been battling a back complaint, a likely starter against Chile.
Cahill, Australia’s all-time leading scorer, will start at the point of attack, with Tommy Oar set to be on the left wing and Mathew Leckie on the right.
Skipper Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan will complete the midfield with coach Ange Postecoglou to field the same back four who started the recent friendly against Croatia – central defenders Matthew Spiranovic and Alex Wilkinson, right back Ivan Franjic and Jason Davidson on the left.