Hordes of Aussie soccer fans have been left scratching their heads after Australia’s gritty 1-1 draw with a classy Denmark outfit on Thursday night.
And they’re all asking one question: Why hasn’t Socceroo great Tim Cahill played a single minute at this World Cup?
The question grew even louder on Thursday in a match where the Danes were tiring and the Socceroos were well in the game, but just couldn’t convert their chances in front of goal.
When Andrew Nabbout went down with a shoulder injury with 15 minutes left, many fans thought Cahill would step up, but Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk slotted in Tomi Juric – as he did against France.
Social media lit up overnight and on Friday morning with the hashtag #TimmyTime, venting a mix of bewilderment and anger over van Marwijk’s decision not to play Australia’s greatest ever goal scorer – a man with an almost magical ability to find the ball and score in clutch situations.
Veteran Socceroos keeper Mark Bosnich weighed in in moderate tones.
Massive improvement in the 2nd half for Australia..after Sisto’s miss around 50-55mins Australia were the better team..Arzani,should have been in earlier,and questions must be asked of the manager as to why @Tim_Cahill was not used with 10-15mins to go.xmb
— Mark Bosnich (@TheRealBozza) June 21, 2018
As did sports journalists and broadcasters.
— Glenn Mitchell (@MitchellGlenn) June 21, 2018
We need a striker. Tim Cahill must start against Peru. No ifs or buts.
— Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) June 21, 2018
Coach Bertie Beetle has done wonders getting this squad into such competitive and tactical shape. But it beggars belief he didn’t roll the dice with @Tim_Cahill with 15 to go IMHO
— Adam Spencer (@adambspencer) June 21, 2018
Celebrities piled on the pressure.
Come on it’s #TimmyTime
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) June 21, 2018
Even rugby and cricket identities chimed in.
— Lote Tuqiri (@LoteTuqiri) June 21, 2018
— Brett Lee (@BrettLee_58) June 21, 2018
News Corp sports writer Buzz Rothfield argued that Cahill could have delivered “that little bit of class and composure … like he has done on so many occasions in the past”.
But ABC Grandstand reporter Dean Bilton articulated what many Socceroos fans might be thinking, but are too afraid to say for fear of being labelled heretics. Bilton branded the cries of derision towards van Marwijk “at best overblown, and at worst [they] give a window into the sort of mentality that has held the Socceroos back over the years”.
Bilton pointed out that Cahill doesn’t seem to have been put out by his exclusion, happy to take a mentoring role in this squad. And with so little game time over the past year, it would be unwise to throw him in.
“[Cahill] has taken Arzani under his wing and has not made a single dissenting noise. His presence in that camp, regardless of his playing time, is invaluable,” he wrote on Friday.
Bilton noted that Cahill is “a finisher … but he does not contribute to Australia’s overall play in any meaningful way, meaning all that build up play you think he will be getting on the end of could very easily dissipate when he comes on the field”.
A classic Tim Cahill moment from the 2014 World Cup
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) June 18, 2018