It is a goal that will be forever replayed when highlights of this World Cup, and of Australia’s World Cup odyssey down the decades, are put together.
Down 1-0 to a Netherlands team that they had, up to that point, been outplaying, the Socceroos and their talisman Tim Cahill reacted in the best possible fashion just a minute after Arjen Robben had put the Dutch in front.
Cahill is already Australia’s greatest goalscorer, but so many of his majors have via his head, and he is renowned still, at the age of 34, as one of the best offensive headers of a ball in the world game.
Tim Cahill’s classy contact in 2014 in Porto Alegre. Photo: Getty Images
But this wonder strike, this goal for the ages, was something completely different. Cahill’s volley from Ryan McGowan’s floated cross was straight out of the technical text book for its precision , pace and power.
The wonder is that he caught the ball so perfectly, on his wrong foot, his left. But no matter, it was one of those perfect storm moments that sportsmen have, when the planets align, the circumstances combine and the situation demands an extraordinary response.
Kewell’s crucial contribution, 2006 Photo: Kirk Gilmour
Cahill’s strike was simply awesome, crashing into the net after smashing off the crossbar, leaving the Dutch defence helpless, watching in stunned admiration as their lead was immediately wiped out.
It has to go straight to the top of the list of great Socceroo goals. Fitting that it should be struck by the man who unquestionably now deserves the accolade as Australia’s greatest ever player.
1. Tim Cahill, against The Netherlands, World Cup 2014.
Cahill’s cracker, 2006. Photo: Getty Images
2. Mark Bresciano, against Bahrain, Asian Cup qualifier 2006.A much younger and more agile Bresciano contorted his body beautifully to slam home a wonderful angled volley.
3. Tim Cahill, against Japan, World Cup 2006.The Socceroos were losing 1-0 and looked like being out of the World Cup before it had really got going when Cahill stepped off the bench and into history, scoring Australia’s equaliser and its first-ever finals goal, and following up with a second for good measure.
4.Harry Kewell, against Croatia, World Cup 2006.Might not have been the most spectacular of strikes but it certainly ranked as one of the most important, as he made it 2-2, securing the point Australia needed to qualify for the knock out stages.
Bresciano’s beauty. Photo: Tim Clayton
5.Jimmy McKay, against South Korea, World Cup qualifier 1973. A thunderbolt from long range that proved decisive in bringing the original Socceroos the win they needed against South Korea in a play-off to qualify for their first World Cup in Germany 1974
With five World Cup goals he now has scored more World Cup goals than Lionel Messi (2), Cristiano Ronaldo (2) and Wayne Rooney (0) combined.
WORLD CUP 2014: AUSTRALIA V THE NETHERLANDS HIGHLIGHTSArjen Robben of the Netherlands controls the ball on his way to scoring his team’s first goal during the Group B match between Australia and Netherlands. Photo: Getty Images
He has become one of just six players to score at three World Cups.
Twice against Japan in 2006.
One against Serbia in 2010.
One against Chile and one against the Netherlands in 2014.
Tim Cahill (Australia); Robin van Persie (Netherlands); Arjen Robben (Netherlands); Roberto Baggio (Italy); Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany); Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
Pele (Brazil); Uwe Seeler (Germany)
What Tim Cahill said about his now-famous volley
‘‘When you look at your idols like Marco van Basten and even Robin van Persie, they’re the sort of goals they score,’’ Cahill said.
‘‘You dream as a kid for these opportunities.
‘‘At home in my garden I score like that everyday but this is what’s it’s all about.
‘‘When the ball was flying over normally people expect me to jump and head that from 18 yards but it just sat so beautifully off the shoulder of the defender and I struck it and it went in.
‘‘Football is all about these moments and what better place to do it that in the home of football in Brazil.’’