Cahill urges Australia to keep improving
By Football News
Australia attacker Tim Cahill has challenged his team to keep their momentum going in their World Cup qualifier against Oman on Tuesday.
Cahill has claimed the Socceroos turned a corner in October with their 2-1 win away to Iraq in their last World Cup qualifier and believes Australia cannot afford to miss out on three points when they host Oman in Sydney.
Australia started the fourth round of qualifying in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) with two draws and a loss but moved up to second on goal difference with their win over Iraq.
"I suppose that corner was turned in the last game with the three points and now it's about building on that and progression and not making excuses, just embracing it and hopefully moving forward," Cahill said.
Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Cahill has called on his Socceroos teammates to put in a good week on the training pitch and ensure they get the job done at ANZ Stadium next week.
"It's all about the points, really, irrespective of what's happened in the past and an average start," the 33-year-old New York Red Bulls forward said.
The Socceroos will be without regular captain Lucas Neill against Oman as the Sydney FC defender is suspended.
With Matthew Spiranovic injured and Sasa Ognenovski left out of the squad, Australia's manager Holger Osieck will have to select a relatively inexperienced central defensive pairing from Robert Cornthwaite, Dino Djulbic, Rhys Williams, Michael Thwaite, Jade North and Mark Milligan.
Having started five of the Socceroos past six matches, Cornthwaite shapes as a favourite for one of the central defensive berths, although the 27-year-old former Adelaide United player is not getting carried away.
"I'd like to put my hand up to start that game, definitely, but, you know, there's a few days of training beforehand, so I've got to make sure I put my best foot forward," Cornthwaite said.
Cornthwaite has scored three goals in his past five internationals since he was a late call-up for the 2-1 friendly win over South Korea in November but the 199cm tall defender's priorities remain at the other end of the pitch.
"Hopefully I can get on the scoresheet again but I think the main objective is obviously keep a clean sheet and get the three points," Cornthwaite said.
If Australia win on Tuesday and AFC Group B leaders Japan knock off Jordan, the Socceroos will move three points clear in second position.