Sport Football FIFA World Cup 2018: Fans vent anger over Tim Cahill snub
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FIFA World Cup 2018: Fans vent anger over Tim Cahill snub

Tim Cahill
Why is Tim Cahill in the squad? Photo: AAP
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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.

As did sports journalists and broadcasters.

Celebrities piled on the pressure.

Even rugby and cricket identities chimed in.

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.

“But there are perfectly legitimate reasons why Cahill has not been making appearances, let alone starting. First of all, he’s hardly played any football for about nine months, and to expect anything more than a very brief cameo is completely unreasonable and unwise.”

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

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