Cahill bids WC goodbye

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The 34-year-old struck home a sweet volley - a contender for the goal of the tournament - in their 3-2 defeat, yet his personal joy was short-lived as he picked up a second yellow card in successive matches, meaning he misses out in Australia’s dead-rubber against Spain next week.

Australia’s all-time top goal-scorer was delighted with his goal, and proud of his team’s display as they gave the European giants a run for their money.

“It was a fantastic goal and without doubt the best of my career. I’ll never forget it,” the New York Red Bulls star told Fifa.com.

“It’s a moment of great pride for me and my country. I know that it’s all over for me now, but I’m leaving without any regrets.

“As well as scoring that goal, we gave as good as we got against one of the best teams in the world and their star players like Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie."

A servant of Australian football, Cahill has appeared in the last three world showpieces for his country, scoring five goals – more than Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney combined.

“Taking part in this competition is something I used to dream about when I was a boy, a time when you didn’t often see Australia at the World Cup,” he said.

“I feel tremendously proud of the fact that I’ve played a regular part in the World Cup. We’re still a young team in the football world. It’s a new era for Australian football, and thanks to today’s match [against the Netherlands], we’ve earned the respect of the whole world.”

At 34, Cahill may have made his World Cup bow, yet was proud of his last performance in an Australian shirt at a World Cup.

“I played with my heart and my guts, just like I’ve always done, without thinking about the cards I’d already got or the ones I might get,” said the forward.

“I’ve always gone in for every ball. That’s the way I’ve always played and it’s the risk I take. I’ve picked up two cards but I always play in the moment, without thinking about the future.

“And today I’ve enjoyed one of the most beautiful moments of my life.”

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