Sankt Polten (Austria), June 1 (IANS) Australia on Friday routed the Czech Republic 4-0 in a tune-up friendly ahead of the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup as ageing Tim Cahill continued to be embroiled in controversy.
The game was played amid the controversy caused by the calling up of 38-year-old Aussie football great Tim Cahill to the Australia team’s 26-man roster. Cahill’s face is synonymous in Australia with Caltex, an international petroleum company and one of the main sponsors of the Australian soccer federation, reports Efe.
Many pundits claim tapping the over-the-hill Cahill again for his fourth overall World Cup was done merely to appease Caltex shareholders, at the expense of giving a place on the roster for 24-year-old striker Jamie Maclaren, who put on a great performance last season with the Scottish side Hibernian.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk opted to leave Cahill on the bench for the beginning of the match, suggesting that Cahill might still be cut from this World Cup team.
At the other end of the field, the Czech Republic has been seeking to reconstruct the team after failing to qualify for the World Cup and the retirement of many of its stars, including Tomas Rosicky and Petr Chech.
The Czech team dominated the game during the first half hour, but was unable to score.
It was Australia who took the lead in the 32nd minute on Mathew Leckie’s shot, and maintained the advantage until halftime.
When the match resumed after the halftime, Australia was the better team, doubling the score thanks to Andrew Nabbout’s shot in the 53rd minute.
Leckie struck again in the 72nd minute, ending the Czech Republic’s hope for a rally, before Jakob Jugas scored an own goal in the 80th minute.
This was Australia’s first friendly match since their 0-0 draw against Colombia on March 27 and after Aussie coach Ange Postecoglou’s resignation.