Veteran forward Cahill has spoken of the importance of a Socceroos victory in next Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Oman
|By MICHAEL HUGUENIN
Australia attacker Tim Cahill has challenged the Socceroos to keep their momentum going in their AFC 2014 World Cup qualifier against Oman on Tuesday.
Cahill has claimed the Socceroos turned a corner in October with their 2-1 win away to Iraq in their last qualifier in October and believes Australia cannot afford to miss out on three points when they host Oman in Sydney.
Australia started the fourth round of AFC qualifying with two draws and a loss but moved up to second on goal difference with their win over Iraq.
"I suppose that corner was turned in the last game with the three points and now it's about building on that and progression and not making excuses, just embracing it and hopefully moving forward," Cahill said.
Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Cahill has called on his Socceroos teammates to put in a good week on the training pitch and ensure they get the job done at ANZ Stadium next Tuesday.
"It's all about the points, really, irrespective of what's happened in the past and an average start," the 33-year-old New York Red Bulls forward said.
The Socceroos will be without regular captain Lucas Neill against Oman as the Sydney FC defender is suspended.
With Matthew Spiranovic injured and Sasa Ognenovski left out of the squad, Australia coach Holger Osieck will have to select a relatively inexperienced central defensive pairing from Robert Cornthwaite, Dino Djulbic, Rhys Williams, Michael Thwaite, Jade North and Mark Milligan.
Having started five of the Socceroos past six matches, Cornthwaite shapes as a favourite for one of the central defensive berths, although the former Adelaide United player, 27, is not getting carried away.
"I'd like to put my hand up to start that game, definitely, but, you know, there's a few days of training beforehand, so I've got to make sure I put my best foot forward," Cornthwaite said.
Cornthwaite has scored three goals in his past five internationals since he was a late call-up for the 2-1 friendly win over South Korea in November, but the 199cm tall defender's priorities remain at the other end of the pitch.
"Hopefully I can get on the scoresheet again but I think the main objective is obviously keep a clean sheet and get the three points," Cornthwaite said.
If Australia win on Tuesday and Group B leaders Japan defeat Jordan, Australia will move three points clear in second position.