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Cahill remains Aussie dangerman

5 Feb 2009(Thu)

February 3, 2009: There were two big surprises when I checked out the Everton home page the other day.

The first was that there was a section specifically for "Latest Injuries"; the second that Tim Cahill wasn't on it.

The fact that clubs dedicate web space to injuries and when each player is expected to return is a sign of the hectic pace and hectic schedule of the modern game, especially in the physically demanding English Premier League.

Cahill, as everyone knows, has had more than his fair share of injuries, and always seems to be coming back from his latest setback.

But judging by his recent performances for Everton, the attacking midfielder is in dynamic form and poses a massive threat to Japan in next week's World Cup cracker at Yokohama.

If Pim Verbeek is concentrating on shutting down the supply line from Shunsuke's silky left foot, Takeshi Okada will no doubt have Cahill marked down as the man to stop.

No one needs reminding of the damage Cahill inflicted on Japan when coming on as a substitute in that sun-baked World Cup opener at Kaiserslautern three summers ago, nor his boxing-style celebrations after each of his two goals.

Those images must be quite traumatic for Japanese fans to witness, and I don't feel Japan "avenged" that World Cup defeat at all by eliminating Australia from the 2007 Asian Cup in a penalty shootout. The World Cup loss was far more significant and is still the result remembered around the world when discussing these two Asian rivals.

Cahill remains a danger, especially with his well-timed runs from midfield. He is a superb header of the ball, and Japan must be careful to track those clever runs into the box if the big men -- Tulio and Nakazawa -- are preoccupied with the main Aussie strikers at set-pieces.

Even though Australia will miss the outstanding Brett Emerton on the right flank -- the Blackburn Rovers star is out for the season with a serious knee injury -- Verbeek still has plenty of experienced campaigners to call on for this mega-match at Yokohama.

None more so than a fully fit Tim Cahill.

ends

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