Bulls Abroad: Is Tim Cahill coming back to New York Red Bulls for good?

Cameron Spencer

No great surprise that this is Tim Cahill's last World Cup, but did he just play his last game for Australia?

You saw it: Tim Cahill scored a helluva goal against the Netherlands: a clear candidate for goal of the tournament; a strike that has drawn comparison's with Marco van Basten's one-for-the-ages against USSR in 1998; a goal already anointed the best-ever by an Australian in the only country qualified to make that appraisal - Australia.


And then he picked up a yellow card, got suspended and, since Australia cannot mathematically make it out of Group B, spent quite a lot of time talking about THAT goal and his feelings about the World Cup. Cahill is 34; the Australian national team is transitioning to the next generation of players: few are expecting him to play again on this stage.

At home in my garden, I score like that every day   -Tim Cahill (smh.com)

Indeed, Cahill isn't expecting to play again on this stage: he confirmed this is his last World Cup in several interviews.

So perhaps that is why he's been calling the game against the Netherlands a "farewell match": farewell to the World Cup. It's a helluva sign off - we'll be seeing that goal in previews for the 2018 tournament and retrospectives of Brasil 2014 for the next four years.

But FourFourTwo's Australian edition picked up on Cahill's unwillingness to discuss whether or not this might have been his last game for Australia ever: "I don't really want to elaborate because we've got one more game to go and it's not about Tim Cahill."

Team-first Timmy: no surprise there.

I just had one of the best farewell matches of my life. I created something globally that everyone's seen and witnessed. -Tim Cahill (fourfourtwo.com)

So is Cahill going to retire from the international game after Australia bows out against Spain on June 23?

It would be a surprise for Australians. Next year, Australia hosts the AFC Asian Cup. The country only joined the Asian confederation in 2005. Since then. the Socceroos have contested two Asian Cups, making the quarterfinals in 2007, and finishing runner-up (to Japan) in 2011. The chance to win a major trophy on home soil is surely the ideal crowning moment for arguably the best Australian player of his generation.

The tournament is in January, so no conflict with Cahill's commitment to the New York Red Bulls. Indeed, from an RBNY perspective, the idea of the club's next captain (you think not? To the comments!) heading into the 2015 MLS season with an Asian Cup, or maybe a Golden Boot, or at the very least a LOT of Australian press coverage, is probably a very much desired feature of the off-season.

But the Australian team is in transition. Coach Ange Postecoglou is basically the Australian Caleb Porter: a homegrown managerial talent who has cut his teeth in the domestic game and is now charged with bringing a new generation and style of play forward. Asian Cup 2015 is more about the Socceroos' future than its past.

And there may have been something telling in Postecoglou's substitutions against the Netherlands. As he sought control of the game, the coach brought his old men off first: Mark Bresciano (34) for Oliver Bozanic (25) in the 51st minute; then Cahill for Ben Halloran (22) in the 68th minute.

Of course I want to be part of the Asian Cup   -Tim Cahill (smh.com)

As Cahill told the Sydney Morning Herald, he wants to play (doesn't he always?) but it's not up to him: "I want to see what the plans are of the boss for the team and I'll be fighting fit to be available."

While RBNY contemplates the second half of a currently disappointing season, the idea of a fired-up Cahill (who scored more goals in two games at the World Cup than he has for RBNY this year) is enticing. It's going to take something special to turn 2014 around for RBNY. As we just saw in Brasil, when he's fit and motivated, Cahill is special.

So fans, front office, and Cahill himself, may be united in wanting him to carry on with his work for his country. But it's all up to Ange Postecoglou.

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