45 days to go: Jason Culina's FIFA World Cup story

It's now less than 50 days until the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and as part of our countdown to Russia, we are profiling every Australian player who has been to football's biggest tournament.

Today we feature 58-time international Jason Culina, an ever-present member of the Golden Generation.

With seven FIFA World Cup matches to his credit, only two Australian players can claim to have made more appearances on the grand stage.

READ: FIFA World Cup: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number: 483

World Cups played at: 2006, 2010

Position: Midfielder

Age at World Cup: 25 in 2006, 29 in 2010 (now 37)

Clubs played for:

Sydney United, Sydney Olympic, Ajax, Germinal Beerschot (loan), De Graafschap (loan), FC Twente, PSV, Gold Coast United, Sydney FC

Best World Cup moment:

An integral midfield cog under both Guus Hiddink and Pim Verbeek, Culina played every minute of the Caltex Socceroos campaigns in 2006 and 2010.

He was involved in no small number of memorable moments in that time, including the comeback win over Japan and the clash with Brazil that saw him go toe-to-toe with Ronaldinho and Kaka.

But, like the many Australian squad members of 2006 that shared his heritage, playing Croatia in the final group match that secured progression to the knockout rounds stands out as a unique, unforgettable occasion.

Jason Culina
Getting the better of Niko Kranjcar.

Career highlight:

Along with his six years of national team service, Culina enjoyed a long and impressive club career that he began as a 16-year-old at Sydney United.

His greatest spell of success came at Eredivisie giants PSV, with whom he won three straight titles from 2005 to 2008.

He was also a key member of the team that reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2006-07, playing all 180 minutes across two legs against eventual runners-up Liverpool.

Jason Culina Cesc Fabregas
Taking on Cesc Fabregas and Arsenal in 2007.

Post-playing career:

Culina currently coaches former club Sydney United 58 in NPL New South Wales, having taken over from Mark Rudan last year. He previously assisted father Branko at Fraser Park FC.

Did you know?

Culina's long career in the Netherlands might never have eventuated had he joined Danish outfit Brondby as originally planned.

That deal fell through on the eve of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship but, after impressing at the tournament, he received offers from Ajax and Hamburg, eventually deciding on the former.