Cahill not yet fully fit for Japan match

DANGER MAN: Australia's striker Cahill has a good track record against Japan but his fitness issue may leave him on the bench.


    Oct 11, 2016

    Cahill not yet fully fit for Japan match


    AUSTRALIA coach Ange Postecoglou will unleash Japan's bogeyman Tim Cahill at some point during their World Cup qualifier in Melbourne today but said the veteran striker remains short of match fitness.

    He played only a few minutes of the Socceroos' 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia in their previous qualifier in Jeddah and has started just one competitive match in the last few months for new A-League club Melbourne City.

    After a long trip back from the Middle East, Postecoglou said Cahill had put his hand up for a starting role at Docklands stadium but suggested the player might be disappointed.

    "As pointed out to me, he has got a great record against Japan," Postecoglou told reporters at Docklands yesterday.

    "But he's got a pretty good record against most nations.

    "There hasn't been many he hasn't scored against.

    "Whether he starts tomorrow, we'll assess today. He's in great condition, he just lacks some match conditioning.

    "If he doesn't start, we're sure he'll play an important part... at some point."

    On seven points after three games, Australia lead Asia's Group B on goal difference from Saudi Arabia.

    Victory in Melbourne would go a long way to securing a ticket for Russia and a fourth successive World Cup appearance.

    Japan, who won their last qualifier against Iraq with a 95th-minute strike, are third on six points.

    Postecoglou was unhappy with the way his side finished against Saudi Arabia, allowing the Green Falcons a late equaliser when the visitors were set to take all three points.

    He dismissed a suggestion that the Asian Cup champions needed to learn to shut down games and said his team would always look for more goals whether leading or behind.

    "Our approach is pretty clear, we'll try to play as much football as we can."