Cahill picks African nation in last-four line-up for Qatar WC

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Tim Cahill speaks to media and dignitaries from Qatar during the launch of Visa Masters of the Movement.

Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Editor

Australian footballer Tim Cahill made a shocking prediction when picking up his four favourite semi-finalist teams for the Qatar World Cup 2022.

Cahill, who is a part of the organising committee for the upcoming football spectacle, was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Visa Masters of the Movement.

Visa, the exclusive payment services partner of FIFA, launched the Masters of the Movement, a first-of-its-kind hybrid experience featuring a pre-event NFT auction and immersive activation for fans at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Masters of the Movement replicates the smooth movement of the ball from one end of the pitch to the other like Visa facilitates the digital transaction without any hassles.

Five spectacular goals have been selected and minted into NFTs which will be auctioned at the Crypto.com ahead of the World Cup and the proceeds will go to charity, which works for the well-being of street children.

The auction brings together five unique works of art inspired by iconic FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup goals from legendary footballers — Jared Borgetti, Tim Cahill, Carli Lloyd, Michael Owen and Maxi Rodriguez. With the Qatar showpiece around the corner, all the legends seemed to have outlined their own map for the title showdown.

From Manchester City legend Aleksandar Kolarov, Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski to Cahill all have predicted the last four line-up for the Qatar extravaganza.

“I think it is going to be Brazil, France, England and an African nation like Cameroon, Ghana or Senegal in the last four of the World Cup,” said Cahill. Never before has any African nation reached the semi-finals in the history of the World Cup. T

he deepest any African country has gone into a FIFA World Cup is the quarter-finals. Only three teams have achieved the feat. In 1990, Cameroon set a benchmark which was followed by Senegal and Ghana in 2002 and 2010 respectively.

“I think the conditions will make a big difference in Qatar. Actually they are used to playing in conditions which are more or less like that of the host country. So I think we can see some big upsets and one of these African countries breach the last-eight mark and move one step closer towards the title,” he stressed.

Many African footballers ply their trade in European club football. The most famous African duo is the Liverpool pair of Sadio Mane of Senegal and Mohammed Salah of Egypt. The Salah-Mane match-up headlined the Africa Cup of Nations final, as the Reds legends helped the title push of their respective countries at the continental showpiece.

Finally, it was Mane who scored a penalty to outshine his Liverpool team-mate and steered Senegal to the title.

Apart from Mane, there are eight Senegalese national team players, who play in the English Premier League and in the top division of the other leagues like Spanish, Italian and French to name a few.

Apart from Mane, Pape Matar Sarr, Ismail Sarr, Idrissa Gueye, Kalidou Koulibaly, Nampaly Mendy are the few players who have been important cogs in the wheels of their Premier League team’s plans and will carry the onus of taking Senegal through in Qatar on their shoulders.

Cahill also threw his support for a 48-team World Cup.

The 2026 football extravaganza will feature 48 teams. The idea of involving more teams was floated by FIFA chief Gianni Infantino.

“There are 211 football associations in the world out of which 150 are funded by FIFA. If I am the president of any of these federation’s 48 teams, I need the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup.

“If I am sitting in Europe I am at a different table. So when you think about sharing the game and qualifying there are going to be more slots. “It will be like generating more revenue and distributing it among the federations. I am honoured to be working with the Sri Lankan federation and helping them.

“There will always be some against it and some in favour of it. But, I think it is good. Australia have qualified six times, they will want to play more often at the World Cup. The World Cup belongs to all and it is not for a few countries only. So, it should be played by more countries,” he added.

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