Countdown to 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 99 Days

Tim Cahill, right, is preparing to play in his third World Cup with Australia.

Tim Cahill, right, is preparing to play in his third World Cup with Australia.

The 2014 World Cup begins on June 12, when Brazil plays Croatia in the opening match.

Reporters and editors for The Times will count down to the start of the tournament each day with a short capsule of news and interesting tidbits.

Tim Cahill is certainly among the most traveled soccer players in the world. His time in England pushed him into the limelight, and he’s one of those rare Australian internationals who wouldn’t be out of place at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. He’s a bonafide celebrity but he’s kept his feet on the ground, and importantly for Australia, he’s betting on his own team to prosper at the World Cup.

As he gets ready for his third trip to the World Cup finals with Australia, Cahill was back in England preparing for an international friendly on Wednesday against Ecuador at a place he knows well — Millwall’s The Den.

“It’s sort of like how the stars have aligned,” Cahill said at a news conference Tuesday. “This is where it all started, and to score tomorrow night, if I play, it’s just one of those things in your career that would be really special. It’s a place that I call home, along with Everton, and to be the all-time leading goal scorer for Australia where it all started might be special, but if it’s not here, it’ll be somewhere else.”

By scoring one more goal for the Socceroos, Cahill would notch the 30th of his international career and surpass his Australia teammate Damian Mori.

Cahill, 34, moved from Millwall to Everton in 2004 and now plays in Major League Soccer for the Red Bulls. As one of the world’s pre-eminent frequent fliers, Cahill is expected to make the daunting trip from London to Vancouver, British Columbia, in time for the Red Bulls’ 2014 M.L.S. opener against Vancouver on Saturday.

Australia is in a first-round group in Brazil with defending champion Spain, the Netherlands and Chile.

“It is a great time for Australia because there is a lot of talent out there and it’s started to get unearthed, and at the same time, kids know they’re getting the opportunities,” Cahill said Tuesday. “I think for me, Mile Jedinak and Luke Wilkshire, it’s a great moment in our careers that we can have the responsibility to guide the youngsters and show them the way to do special things for their country.”

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