49 days to go: Mark Schwarzer’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 the tournament in Russia, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a World Cup.

We’ve finished with the 1974 team and today it’s the start of the drought-breaking 2006 squad, which took the Caltex Socceroos back to the tournament for the first time in 32 years.

And the first player in we take a look at is legendary keeper Mark Schwarzer.

READ: FIFA World Cup: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number: 397

World Cups played at: 2006, 2010

Position: Goalkeeper

Age at World Cup: 33 in ’06, 37 in ‘10 (now aged 45)

Clubs played for:

Marconi Stallions, Dynamo Dresden, FC Kaiserslautern, Bradford City, Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, Leicester City

Best World Cup moment:

Schwarzer started six matches for Australia across two FIFA World Cups, including taking on the might of Italy and Brazil in 2006.

He was part of the team that beat Serbia 2-1 in South Africa four years later, making a couple of huge saves late to deny the Europeans the result they needed to progress to the last 16.

Mark Schwarzer makes a save in the shootout against Uruguay in 2005.
Mark Schwarzer makes a save in the shootout against Uruguay in 2005.

Career highlight:

Schwarzer enjoyed a lot of success in his 26-year professional career but it’s hard to go past his penalty-shootout heroics against Uruguay in 2005 as his career high.

In front of more than 80,000 fans in Sydney, Schwarzer made two fantastic saves on the shootout to send Australia to their first World Cup in 32 years.

It came 12 years after he produced similar brilliance to get past Canada in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.

In club football, Schwarzer helped both Middlesbrough and Fulham to UEFA Cup finals (although they lost both), while he was part of EPL winning squads at Chelsea and Leicester City late in his career.

Post-playing career:

Continues to live in the UK where he is a TV pundit on the English Premier League coverage for Optus Sport in Australia.

Did you know?

Schwarzer’s parents emigrated from Germany four years before he was born and he can speak fluent German.