Tim Cahill all heart, but Australia short of true class at this level

The Rio Report

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One of the best celebrations in the Premier League in recent years had to be Tim Cahill's familiar little cameo.

The former Everton midfielder loved galloping to a corner flag to do a spot of shadow boxing whenever he found the net for the Merseyside club. Which tended to be with the head. In eight years with Everton, the enjoyable attacking midfielder scored 56 goals.

Cahill moved to New York Red Bulls in 2012, but at the age of 34, has lost none of his alertness as showed when he bulleted a header beyond Chile goalkeeper Caludio Bravo after a superb cross from the right by Ivan Franjic. It gave Australia fresh hope to trail 2-1 in Group B, but alas it was not to be.

The Aussie battler turned in a superb performance in Cuiaba. On another night, he might have helped his side escape with a draw against the South Americans.

Unfortunately, this was not such a night.

Chile ran out 3-1 winners against a plucky Aussie side. It was not an unexpected outcome, but it was a little closer than many commentators were expecting.

Australia came roaring back after losing a couple of early goals with Alexis Sanchez netting on 12 minutes and Jorge Valdivia lancing their opponents' net with a flashing drive a couple of minutes later.

It looked like the Socceroos might be on the end of a drubbing, but they revived themselves through plenty of perspiration rather than inspiration. Much of the sweat came from Cahill's typical work-rate. He netted with another header in the second half, but had strayed just offside.

Cahill has now scored four of Australia's nine goals in World Cups, and has found the net in three different tournaments.

Unfortunately, Australia don't possess enough players of his quality – like Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell, who were around their peak when they reached the last 16 in 2006 only to lose despairingly to eventual winners Italy late on.

Cahill remains from the remnants of that side, but he could only look on in frustration when Wigan's Jean Beausejour potted the clinching goal a minute into four added on with the Aussies out on their feet.

Not surprisingly, Cahill likes to talk in boxing parlance. He likes to outline the value of getting back up quickly when you get knocked down.

It is behaviour Australia will have to quickly fraternise with before they face a Dutch side still giddy from a 5-1 ravaging of Spain in their opening match.

Chile did what was expected of them. They were not at their most assured, but opportunity knocks for the South American side. A win over Spain will send the world champions home at the first group stage while sealing their own progress.

There was enough in Chile's side to believe in. Group B could be over as a contest when the sun sets on Wednesday. For Spain against Chile, it sounds like a chilling prospect.

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