Osieck: I had to make something happen

It was initially met with ridicule, but Holger Osieck said it was simply 'about the time' to substitute fan favourite Tim Cahill for eventual matchwinner Josh Kennedy

At the biggest moment of Australia's World Cup qualifying campaign, it took one of Holger Osieck's bravest calls to get the Socceroos to Brazil.

With the minutes ticking away and the vital goal needed to earn qualification yet to be scored, Osieck shocked most of the 80,000 fans – and the man himself – by replacing talisman Tim Cahill.

Cahill, Australia's hero on so many occasions, did not react well to the substitution and was far from happy to be replaced by Josh Kennedy with just 13 minutes left.

But just six minutes later, it proved a master stroke as Kennedy headed home Mark Bresciano's cross to ease a nation's nerves and book Australia's ticket to a third consecutive World Cup.

Asked about the bold move after the match – and Cahill's apparent annoyance – Osieck said: "You have to understand no player really wants to be taken off

"But it's my discretion as a coach to make substitutions, that's why I'm entitled to have three players that can be replaced.

"And you could see after the game [Cahill] was one of the happiest persons, he was even [jumping up] on my shoulders.

"At times you reach a space in the game where you have to make something happen and it was about the time."

Cahill, who had squandered a couple of good chances to make Australia's night a little easier in the first half, cut a frustrated figure for much of the night as he battled a stubborn defence and lack of quality service from his team-mates.

While frustrated he could not do his part to get the Socceroos over the line, Cahill backed his coach's decision and said the German deserves a lot of respect for getting the nation to Brazil.

"You never want to leave the pitch. There's 10 minutes to go and you think you're going to score," he said.

"In the end the boss is a genius.

"Josh scored a great goal and it's the best thing that's ever happened.

"The guy's [Osieck] pretty special. If it was Guus Hiddink he'd be getting all the credit.

"And hats off to him. We've had three difficult games, been under a lot of pressure and we've produced."

But they left it late and Osieck admitted to feeling helpless as time ticked by without a breakthrough.

"[As a coach] you can never determine what's going on, on the pitch, you can just set stuff in place, give tactical instructions and give directives," he said.

"But basically it's the players that have to put the ball in the net.

"Of course you always hope it going to happen. When time is running out it's getting a little bit tight but that's normal."

Osieck, who was part of the West German coaching staff when they won the World Cup in Italy in 1990, now will be in charge of a team at the finals in his own right in 12 months time.

Asked what it means to be leading Australia to next year's tournament, Osieck said: "This one is very special to me for a number of reasons.

"I like to work for Australian football. I like working with the boys and over the years we've established a good relationship.

"And I'm happy to live in Australia and I want to live here. Hopefully after today's victory I get at least another year."

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