Marksman Tim Cahill confident against ''scared'' defenders
Australia forward Tim Cahill is relishing the challenge of facing the continent`s finest defenders at the Asian Cup, confident he will have the better of his "scared" opponents.
The 35-year-old New York Red Bulls forward is a certain starter and will carry the goal threat when the Socceroos kick-off the tournament on Friday at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium against 1980 winners Kuwait.
Cahill has scored over 35 goals for Australia, easily more than the rest of the Socceroos squad combined, but the cool and calm forward is not worried about the expectation to deliver once again.
"There`s not really a lot of pressure on me because whether I play 20 minutes or 90 minutes, I know I will affect the game," he was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press on Tuesday.
"If I`m not on the football pitch, the fans will be sitting on the edge of their seats waiting and willing. I feel that and I know the expectation is big but it`s a great feeling.
"Coming on knowing that defenders are scared of me... that is something that I know.
"If I really put my head down and really try and affect this Kuwaiti team or the Omanis or any team -- if I don`t score, then whoever is near me or around me will score or reap the benefits of me being on the pitch."
After Friday`s opener against Kuwait, the Socceroos head to Sydney to face Oman before taking on one of the tournament favourites South Korea in Brisbane in the Group A finale.
With three World Cup finals appearances and two previous Asian Cup campaigns under his belt, Cahill said he has the experienced to deal with whatever tactics are thrown at him and his team as they bid for a first Asian Cup title.
"I have played in the roughest and biggest leagues in the world," said the forward, who made his name with Millwall and Everton in English club football. "If it`s playing pure football I can do that.
"If it`s mixing it with the big shots, if anything that plays into my hands because I really like a physical game.
"And I also really like to be the one that dominates when I come onto a football pitch."