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By ESPN Staff

Cahill facing race against time to make finals

SYDNEY, May 19 (Reuters) - Australia midfielder Tim Cahill has admitted he is struggling to be fit for the Socceroos' opening World Cup game against Japan in Germany next month, but still hopes to play.

The Everton player has been sidelined with a knee injury and is almost certain to miss Australia's friendly against European champions Greece in Melbourne next week.

Cahill said he was pleased with the way with the knee was responding to treatment but still in doubt for the Group F clash against Japan on June 12.

'It's really difficult because I've partially torn my posterior cruciate,' he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Friday.

'If I've got half a chance of making it, I'll be there because this is the biggest occasion ever for a football team, but I'm really positive about everything.'

Cahill's selection in the Socceroos squad triggered a row between Australia and Everton after the English club's manager David Moyes said Everton had wanted the final say on whether he could go to the World Cup.

Tensions have since simmered and Cahill said he was happy with the way the matter had been handled.

'The biggest thing people need to understand is Everton pay my wages,' he said.

'I've got great respect for my manager and the way he thinks of me.

'He is just looking out for me. I love Australia and I love Everton. This is all about me getting fit.'

Group F also contains defending champions Brazil and Croatia.