We’re just over a month away from the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and as part of our countdown to the tournament, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a FIFA World Cup.
Next up is a man who featured in one of the memorable games of the 2006 tournament in Germany, goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac.
Cap number: 386
World Cups played at: 2006
Age at World Cup: 33 (now aged 45)
Clubs played for:
Sydney United, Leicester City, Roda JC, Perugia, AC Milan, Kavala, Hobart Zebras
Best World Cup moment:
Of the four games the Caltex Socceroos started at the ’06 tournament in Germany, Kalac played in only the final group match against Croatia.
Despite being at fault for Croatia’s second goal – when he let a tame shot slip through his hands and into the net – Australia recovered to draw the match 2-2.
The result was enough to send Guus Hiddink’s side through to the last 16 and a clash with eventual World Champions Italy.
Kalac was on the bench for the Caltex Socceroos – and would have been a late substitute for the shootout if not for an injury to Brett Emerton – in the famous win over Uruguay in 2005.
At club level he also had plenty of success, winning a Dutch Cup with Roda JC in 2000 and the Intertoto Cup with Perugia in 2003.
But most of his success came at Serie A giants AC Milan, where he became the only Australia player to have UEFA Champions League, European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup winner’s medals.
Kalac has stayed involved in football since his playing retirement, doing some work in the media as well as coaching at Hyundai A-League clubs Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Did you know?
Kalac’s nickname Spider was given to him when he was just 14-years-old by Graham Arnold at Sydney United.
“When they used to shoot and I'd make a save, they'd all say, ‘how did this Spider save that, there's nothing of him he's just arms and legs’,” Kalac said in an interview with FourFourTwo.
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou
When to watch your Caltex Socceroos this weekend
There's FA Cup action on the cards for two Australians this weekend as another prepares for a massive top-of-the-table encounter. Multiple players are involved in matches with major title ramifications, while Mark Milligan has a new manager to impress in Scotland. Read on t
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic keeps clean sheet as Genk earn crucial away result
Danny Vukovic was the only Caltex Socceroo in action on Friday morning (AEDT) as his Genk side secured a 0-0 away draw against Slavia Prague in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. Vukovic played a crucial role in earning a clean sheet, making five saves as Slavia bombarded the
Joeys squad announced for next month's UEFA-hosted youth tournament in Turkey
Joeys Head Coach Trevor Morgan today confirmed Australia’s squad for next month’s UEFA-hosted youth tournament in Turkey. Twenty of Australia’s best youth footballers will travel to Antalya in March for matches against the host nation (4 March), Tanzania (6 March), and Guinea