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Australia not a long-ball team, says Cahill

By Football News



Tim Cahill has defended Australia against accusations they are a long-ball team ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Japan.

Australia coach Holger Osieck has recalled fit-again target man Josh Kennedy to the national set-up, while Cahill himself is a proven threat in the air.

But despite the Socceroos' height advantage having worked to their advantage in past matches, New York Red Bulls veteran Cahill rejected suggestions the visitors will launch an aerial bombardment at Saitama Stadium on Tuesday.

"It all depends on them (Japan)," he said when asked if Australia would opt for a route-one approach.

"They might be sitting waiting for that. We assess the game as it goes along and you adapt tactically to what's thrown at you.

"Sometimes it's unfair to say we just go to the air a lot because we do tend to play a lot of football.

"But I think when you go down in a game ... you've got no choice but to swing it in the box. And I think that's happened, unfortunately, that we've gone behind on too many occasions and we've had to resort to forcing it. Hopefully against Japan it won't be like that."

Australia are third in Group B of AFC fourth-round qualifying, seven points behind runaway leaders Japan but just one point back from second-placed Jordan.

The Socceroos have two more matches to come this month, at home to Jordan and Iraq.

And with a place at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil up for grabs, Cahill is all too aware of what is at stake.

"It's a big challenge," Cahill said.

"I think it speaks for itself in terms of what it means to the country and the chance of a third successful World Cup for us. It's also an exciting one, the prospect of having it all in our own hands and of trying to do a job to qualify for where we all want to be.

"If you're not up for it, you shouldn't be here."