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Tim Cahill set to play in fourth World Cup for Australia

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SYDNEY (AP) Tim Cahill will have a chance to score a goal in his fourth consecutive World Cup for Australia.

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The 38-year-old forward was chosen on Sunday by coach Bert van Marwijk among 23 players set to play in Russia for the Socceroos.

Cahill has 105 caps for Australia and is the country’s leading goal scorer, but has struggled for form and match time in recent months. He is currently playing for Millwall in England.

Only three players have scored goals in four World Cups- Pele and German strikers Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose.

Australia’s squad is evenly spread, featuring three goalkeepers, seven defenders, six midfielders, and seven attackers.

Daniel Arzani, 19, is joined by Dimitri Petratos and Josh Risdon as the only three A-League players in the squad, while Mark Milligan also made the World Cup squad for the fourth consecutive time.

The final squad was the result of a two-week training camp in Antalya, Turkey and a 4-0 international friendly win over Czech Republic.

“I have been very pleased with the effort and application of all of the players during our time in Turkey,” van Marwijk said. “Every step of the selection process has been difficult because the players have all given everything to make the final selection.”

Australia is in Group C at the World Cup with France, Denmark and Peru.

The Socceroos will continue to train in Turkey for another week before travelling to Budapest for a friendly against Hungary on June 9. Australia’s World Cup opener is in Kazan against France on June 16.

Australia’s World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers; Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Brad Jones.

Defenders: Trent Sainsbury, Milos Degenek, Matt Jurman, Mark Milligan, Josh Risdon, Aziz Behich, James Meredith.

Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (captain), Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo, Jackson Irvine, Tomi Rogic, Dimitri Petratos, Mathew Leckie, Daniel Arzani.

Forwards: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Andrew Nabbout, Jamie Maclaren, Robbie Kruse.

Former Everton, Red Bulls star Cahill makes Australia’s provisional squad

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SYDNEY (AP) Tim Cahill has been included in Australia’s provisional squad for this year’s World Cup in Russia, boosting his prospects of being selected for a fourth World Cup.

Cahill was among 32 players picked in an expanded training squad, announced by coach Bert van Marwijk on Monday, but the veteran forward faces an anxious wait before knowing whether he will make the final cut for Russia.

The preliminary squad will be trimmed to 26 or 27 players ahead of a pre-tournament camp in Turkey later this month before the final 23-man roster is chosen on June 4.

The 38-year-old Cahill is Australia’s all-time leading scorer with 50 goals from 105 international appearances, but he has struggled for form and match time in recent months.

He rejoined English Championship club Millwall in January to improve his fitness but has played a total of just 63 minutes from 10 matches and failed to score any goals, but van Marwijk told a news conference his big match experience was highly valued.

“He is a special case … he is special in everything,” van Marwijk said. “He is 38 and maybe one of the best-ever players for Australia. He is a very good striker.

“He doesn’t play (at the moment), maybe five or 10 or 20 minutes. Also, he has a problem that he is suspended and I have to take a decision whether to take him to the world championship.

“He is not 19 like (Daniel) Arzani – he’s twice as old – but is also a player who can make a difference.”

Arzani, who is regarded as one of Australia’s brightest young prospects after helping Melbourne City win this season’s A-League title, also made the provisional squad. The teenage winger, who is also eligible to play for Iran, could become the youngest Australian to play at a World Cup if he makes the final cut.

There were few shocks in the makeup of the squad with van Marwijk sticking with the experienced core of players who guided the Socceroos through the long qualifying phase although the Dutchman did include one surprise by picking uncapped defender Fran Karacic.

Born and raised in Croatia, Karacic has never set foot in Australia but is eligible to play for the Socceroos because his father is Australian. Van Marwijk said Karacic was picked because Australia has a shortage of quality right backs.

“Everybody knows that the right defending position, I don’t have a lot of choice for that position,” van Marwijk said. “He is already the captain of his team, at 21-years-old.

“He plays only right-back and we don’t have a lot of players in that position … it’s a position we discuss a lot.”

Striker Jamie Maclaren was also recalled to the squad after some strong performances for Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership. Maclaren hasn’t played for Australia since a qualifier against Thailand in November.

Australia is drawn in Group C at the World Cup alongside France, Peru and Denmark.

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Australia squad:

Goalkeepers: Brad Jones, Mitch Langerak, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic.

Defenders: Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Aleksandar Susnjar, Bailey Wright.

Midfielders: Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi.

Forwards: Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Apostolos Giannou, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Nikita Rukavytsya.

VIDEO: Tim Cahill scores stunning long-range goal

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He’s still got it.

Former Everton and New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill is now plying his trade in his homeland of Australia.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The veteran attacking midfielder, 36, is on the books of Melbourne City, part of the City Football Group, and on his A-League debut in the Melbourne derby he smashed in a goal for the ages.

Spotting the goalkeeper off his line, Cahill hammered home from over 40 yards out. Stunning.

Watch the video below to see the sensational goal.

Cahill has scored some superb strikes in World Cups, the Premier League and MLS, but this one has to be right up there.

Cahill’s homecoming fuels fan fervor in A-League

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SYDNEY (AP) Organizers hope the homecoming of local hero Tim Cahill will fuel enthusiasm for Australian football’s A-League which opens its 12th season on Friday.

Cahill has joined Melbourne City after playing overseas for the past 20 years – at Millwall, Everton, New York and for the past four years in China – while remaining one of Australian football’s favorite sons.

He is the highest-profile player associated this season with a league which has lacked star power since Italy’s Alessandro del Piero turned out for Sydney FC between 2012 and 2014.

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While the television audience for the league has grown by almost 50 percent since 2011, it is not yet as popular as other domestic football competitions including the Australian rules Australian Football League and the National Rugby League.

The A-League has in its favor a broadcasting agreement which allows matches to be shown on subscription and free-to-air formats. But viewership last season slipped on the previous year, even though recent surveys show soccer has overtaken swimming as the most popular sporting activity among Australian children.

The television rights deals enjoyed by the AFL and the NRL are vastly bigger than the $40 million agreement which covers the A-League this season.

But Cahill’s presence in the league this season and the closeness and unpredictability of the 10-team competition may swell TV and live audience numbers and ultimately lead to a significantly bigger broadcasting rights deal. Melbourne City received financial support from Football Federation Australia to swing a deal with Cahill, and the FFA also sought to help other clubs attract marquee signings.

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While the clubs haven’t managed to attract foreign players of Del Piero’s stature, they have managed to draw several Australian internationals back to the league, including Brett Holman at Brisbane, James Troisi with the Melbourne Victory and James Holland at Adelaide.

That seems an important turning point for the league as leading Australian players have often pursued their careers offshore.

Cahill said the return of players formerly based overseas to the A-League is a compliment to the caliber of the competition.

“To be finally home as international Australian players is good for us, good for our families and great for the game,” he said. “You’re talking about good quality players, national team players, who are not choosing something else. They’re looking at the A-League and saying `this is positive for my career.”‘

The league kicks off with a match between Brisbane and the Melbourne Victory and the first round features a derby clash between Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Cahill says his return to Australia “the right decision”

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Veteran Australia striker Tim Cahill says he has been invigorated by signing with Melbourne City in what will be his first appearance in the country’s national league after a globe-trotting career.

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Cahill played at youth level for clubs in the old National Soccer League before joining Millwall in England as an 18-year-old, and after an impressive career there and at Everton, followed by stints in the U.S. and China, he is now back home in the A-League.

Cahill told reporters Monday he had no doubts the time was right to return to Australia, saying “I didn’t know I could feel like this again as a footballer but it’s very special.”

The 36-year-old Cahill, Australia’s all-time leading scorer, has signed a two-year deal with Melbourne City.