Cahill concern for Socceroos

Published Jun. 9, 2010 6:11 a.m. ET

While Kewell, whose much-talked about groin injury has dominated Australia's build-up to the 2010 World Cup, was able to join in an intense two-hour training session on Tuesday night, Cahill was a little more than a spectator. The Everton midfielder is still recovering from a neck injury sustained during the first half of Saturday's 3-1 loss in a warm-up match against the United States and, while the rest of Pim Verbeek's squad engaged in a full-scale practice match, Cahill was having shooting practice alone on the side of the pitch. The sight of Cahill - by far Australia's most prolific scorer in recent years - being unable to join in training just five days out from the Socceroos' opening game is a major concern. With 20 goals from 40 appearances, Cahill has scored more than any other member of the Australia squad and famously netted the first World Cup finals goal for Australia four years ago when his two late strikes against Japan secured the memorable come-from-behind 3-1 victory in the opening game in Germany. But while there is now some doubt over Cahill for the opening game in Durban on Sunday, Kewell seems to have won his fitness battle just as Verbeek predicted all along. The 31-year-old, whose late goal against Croatia four years ago secured Australia's passage to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time, trained strongly last night and looks set to be ready to face Germany. Kewell missed both of Australia's warm-up games against Denmark and the United States but appears to have timed his return to fitness to perfection. Australia's other big injury concern for their third World Cup finals appearance following 1974 and 2006 in midfielder Brett Emerton also joined in full training and also looks to have overcome his recent calf problem.