Tim Cahill’s World Cup hopes in the balance after elbow to the neck earns him three-game ban
The Socceroos and Millwall striker was charged with violent conduct by the FA. (Reuters: Steve Christo)
Tim Cahill’s hopes of some much-needed game time before the start of the World Cup have been handed a blow after he was slugged with a three-game suspension.
The Socceroos and Millwall striker was charged with violent conduct by the Football League after catching Fulham defender Ryan Fredericks with an elbow to the neck during the Lions’ 3-0 defeat at the Den last Friday.
Shortly after the incident Cahill appeared to cop a return elbow himself, delivered by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Tony Thomas on Twitter: All you hear is Fulham fans moaning about the @Tim_Cahill challenge, no one talks about the swinging elbow by Mitrovic on Cahill 5 seconds later. As usual, Sky comment on what they want.
His stray elbow went unpunished during the game, but Cahill was punished retrospectively by a Football Association panel.
He later tweeted that he accepted accountability for his actions and will continue at training.
Tim Cahill on Twitter: I’ve accepted a 3 game ban by The FA and I’ll always accept accountability for my actions on and off the football pitch while representing @MillwallFC My aim now is to contribute in training and to help keep my team-mates focused on trying to secure a Play-Off place.
The Socceroos veteran, who came on as a substitute, will now sit out his side’s final two games of the season against Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.
The 38-year-old will also miss the first match of the play-offs, should Millwall reclaim their place in the Championship’s top six.
The Lions dropped out of the play-off places on Tuesday after being usurped by Derby County, who beat second-placed Cardiff 3-1.
Millwall’s loss to Fulham was the first time they have tasted defeat since Cahill made an emotional return to the club where he started his career in January.
The form of the south Londoners has seen the Socceroos’ record goal-scorer not start a game for Neil Harris’ side, and he’s played in just 65 minutes of the 14 matches he’s been involved in since leaving A-League side Melbourne City.
Bert van Marwijk’s Socceroos squad will assemble in Turkey for a four-week, pre-World Cup training camp, on May 19.
The Dutchman will name an extended squad which has to be reduced to 23 by June 4, with Australia kicking off their campaign against France on June 16 in Kazan.
Despite being the biggest name in the Socceroos squad, Cahill is far from certain of a place in van Marwijk’s squad and played less than half-an-hour in the two recent friendlies against Norway and Colombia.
Cahill has scored in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) and has scored the most goals by any Australian in the World Cup with five goals.
Should Millwall miss the play-offs, Cahill will get just one opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the squad in a friendly against the Czech Republic in Vienna on June 1.
A second match against Hungary will be played in Budapest on June 9.