Tim Cahill and Ben Halloran thank the travelling fans.

Tim Cahill and Ben Halloran thank the travelling fans. Photo: Getty Images

The relief was intense at game's end. 

It was mixed with satisfaction at a return from the brink as well as a glimpse into the future with brilliant performances from Mathew Leckie and Jason Davidson. 

One thing is not up for debate, that Tim Cahill is both a legendary competitor and a great of Australian sport. 

Relieved Chilean players gather after their win.

Relieved Chilean players gather after their win. Photo: AP

We were abysmal until Tim scored. Awful. Couldn't keep the ball, rushing to go forward, decisions the opposite of those that should have been taken, everything going wrong. And Chile pounced. One. OK, boys, regroup and start to play. Come on. 

Two. Oh, no, not again. All the pre-match talk of approaching the game with a positive mentality looked empty, but hope is never forlorn when Cahill is on the field.

For once, Tommy Oar didn't rush to shoot. For once, Ivan Franjic pressed well and maintained the pressure. Could this be it? 

Hold for a second. As the ball floated across, there's a moment when everything stops and all we have is the collective, national will for Timmy to crash it past Claudia Bravo. 

Did it make a difference? Perhaps, but one thing is utterly certain, 22 million people headed that ball. Straight and true. 

Thank the Lord or whomever, or whatever it is you believe in, the spell is broken. This game is back on. 

At 2-0 down I was worried. Chile were having their way and a repeat of Germany four years ago looked possible. 

We have Jason Davidson to thank for keeping it at two – his intercepts were brilliant. A player who had difficulty convincing the fans grew up in front of our eyes and cemented his position against the great Alexis Sanchez. 

Regroup at half-time, with a focus to play, keep the ball, this is not what we came here for, to sit back and throw the ball away all the time. 

Ange Postecoglou's words had the desired effect at half-time, and what a change in the second half. 

Now Mark Bresciano was heavily involved because his teammates had grown in confidence and could find him more often.

And Leckie exploded. Repeatedly attacking the wide open space left by an amazingly attacking Chile team, who resisted the temptation to close the game and wanted more goals and a better goal difference. Leckie personified the approach and different game dynamic, and took the game forward. 

We had chances, and kept the game in the balance for the entire second half, not easy having been behind by two to a superb football team Chile can be proud of, and this was our expectation matched. 

A team that is only six games old was always an uncertain prospect and we asked for an attacking approach to begin the long term process of building our game to ultimate supremacy and, for half a game, we got it. 

We no longer are interested in gallant losses, where we constantly have to fight back from the dead. But on this occasion we can be elated because the team is so young in experience and had to find its way under the most intense pressure imaginable. 

We wanted to take a step each World Cup to progress in our learning and, thanks to one of the most important figures in Australian sport – Timmy Cahill – we did so. 

Congratulations to an outstanding Chile team, who leave knowing Australia gave them one hell of a test.

The challenges only increase now against a brilliant Dutch team, with a different system and having torched the world champions Spain. A step was taken in Cuiaba, another will be needed in five days' time. 

Relief mixed with elation at the end, and great hope for the long term future.