29 days to go: Mile Sterjovski’s FIFA World Cup story

It’s less than a month until the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and as part of our countdown to the tournament, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a FIFA World Cup.

Today we continue the countdown with one of the unsung heroes of the 2006 squad, attacker Mile Sterjovski, who featured in three matches as Australia reached the last 16 in Germany.

Cap number: 453

World Cups played at: 2006

Position: Right winger/second striker

Age at World Cup: 27 (now aged 39)

Clubs played for:

Wollongong Wolves, Wollongong United, Sydney United, Parramatta Power, Lille, FC Basel, Hacettepe, Derby County, Perth Glory, Dalien Aerbin, Central Coast Mariners

Best World Cup moment:

Sterjovski made a total of three starts at the 2006 World Cup – playing up against Cafu in the Brazil game, while also starting against Croatia (71 minutes played) and Italy (81 minutes played).

Mile Sterjovski in action against Croatia
Mile Sterjovski in action against Croatia

Career highlight:

Sterjovski enjoyed a successful stint with FC Basel in Switzerland where, alongside Caltex Socceroos teammate Scott Chipperfield, he won one Championship in 2004/05 and finished runners up in the league in 2005/06 and 2006/07.

It was during the 2005/06 season that Sterjovski and Chipperfield helped Basel reach the UEFA Cup quarter-final where they fell to Mark Schwarzer, Brad Jones and Mark Viduka’s Middlesbrough team that reached the final.

The former Wollongong junior also lifted silverware in the Hyundai A-League, a part of Graham Arnold’s Grand Final winning Central Coast Mariners side in 2013.

Post-playing career:

Sterjovski runs his own youth academy and is also still involved at an elite level. He will be heading to Turkey and Russia as part of Bert van Marwijk’s Caltex Socceroos staff after former boss Ange Postecoglou brought him in as a player mentor and member of the technical staff.

Did you know?

Sterjovski, after stints in France, Switzerland and Turkey, made the move to then-Premier League club Derby County in January 2008.

It was a mixed 18 months at the club which included finishing 20thin the Premier League with an all-time record low points haul of 11 from 38 games. He then returned back to the starting line up with Derby the next season and played against Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final in 2008/09.