Tim Cahill tells Australia team-mates they need to be up for World Cup challenge
Tim Cahill has told his Australian team-mates that they need to be up for the World Cup qualification challenge.
Last Updated: 03/06/13 1:52pm
The Socceroos are third in Asian Qualifying Group B, seven points behind leaders Japan, who will reach Brazil if they avoid defeat.
Australia are also a point behind Jordan in second and with this being their game in hand, they can take a giant step towards taking the second automatic qualification spot with a victory.
The stakes could not be higher for Holger Osieck's men and New York Red Bulls man Cahill has told his team-mates to make sure they rise to the occasion.
"It's a challenge, but it's also an exciting one - the prospect of having it all in our own hands," Cahill told a pre-match media conference.
"If you're not up for it, you shouldn't be here."
Cahill is a veteran of high-pressure encounters but has simple advice for those playing alongside him.
"My main objective is to make sure everyone understands that this is a real special time. It's about enjoying it, embracing it," he added.
"You can put a lot of pressure on yourself, but it's football. It's what we love to do. It's making sure we enjoy training, enjoy the environment we're in and not focus on any negatives."
The other game in Group B pits bottom side Iraq against second-bottom Oman, who have the same amount of points as Australia. Owing to the fact third place guarantees a play-off spot, both have plenty to play for.
Oman have warmed up with a friendly win over Iran and a draw with Lebanon and coach Paul Le Guen said: "We are satisfied with the results from these matches and we are ready."
In Group A South Korea can take top spot if they avoid defeat in their game in-hand against Lebanon.
They are a point behind top-placed Uzbekistan as things stand but victory tomorrow and then over the Uzbeks next week could be enough to take them to Brazil.
Mong Gyu Chung, the president of the Korea Republic Football Association, knows how important the next week is and said: "Two wins and we can almost be there."
Qatar face Iran in Tuesday's other game, with the two currently jostling for third place. If South Korea slip up then a window for a top-two place will become available, while a win for Iran - who have three games left - could see them put pressure on both South Korea and Uzbekistan.