Keep it clean – Schwarzer vows to maintain defensive steel
Few nations involved in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying process can boast a defensive record on par with that of the Qantas Socceroos, who have goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to thank for much of their backline resolve.
SYDNEY: Few nations involved in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying process can boast a defensive record on par with that of the Qantas Socceroos, who have goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to thank for much of their backline resolve.
Only a handful of European nations are in the same galaxy as the Qantas Socceroos when it comes to defensive records throughout the World Cup qualification process to date.
Fellow qualifiers the Netherlands, along with Denmark, Hungary and Spain have each conceded only two goals in six European qualification matches - enviable records that still fall short of Australia-s amazing three goals conceded in twelve qualification matches.
Schwarzer has played as telling a role in any in such success, conceding just two goals - both away from home - since Australia made their first World Cup qualifying appearance in Asia in February of last year.
“Lucas Neill and I had a quiet chat after the game and talked about how important it was for us to continue to play the style of football that we-ve been playing,” said Schwarzer.
“If you build a good foundation and don-t concede a goal you put yourself in a good position to not only at least get a result but win the game and throughout the course of the campaign we-ve shown that.”
Perhaps Australia-s best performed player of the 2008/09 European domestic season, Schwarzer-s pre-season move to Fulham from Middlesbrough has proven as shrewd a choice as any made by Australia-s significant overseas contingent.
Schwarzer-s 66 caps in green and gold sees the 36-year-old custodian occupy fifth place on the all-time list of most capped Australian internationals and the likeable veteran is showing no signs of slowing down ahead what would be his second World Cup appearance.
Schwarzer and the Qantas Socceroos are now just 180 minutes away from claiming a unique record of having not conceded any goals throughout the entire final stage of qualifying - a barely fathomable record that would seem beyond any nation with aspirations for South Africa.
“It-s vitally important for all of us to continue the run that we-ve had going and we-re going to try everything we can to make sure we get through this whole qualifying stage without conceding a goal,” said Schwarzer.
“It-s going to be tough but we think we can do it.”
The World Cup qualifying penalty shootout hero against Uruguay four years ago, Schwarzer-s impact on the current campaign has been less spectacular but equally as valuable, from his last minute penalty save against China in Kunming to his man of the match showings against Iraq in Brisbane and Bahrain in Manama.
Norway v Caltex Socceroos: 4 key match ups
Bert van Marwijk’s first match in charge as Caltex Socceroos boss sees his side take on tricky European outfit Norway at the Ullevaal Stadion on Saturday, March 24 (AEDT). With a chance for his players to stake a claim for a spot on the plane to Russia in June, it’s an importa
Ultimate Guide: Caltex Socceroos vs Norway and Colombia
Caltex Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has assembled a 26-man squad for this month's twin friendlies that will help determine his FIFA World Cup roster. The players on show against Norway and Colombia have the chance to show the new boss what they can do as they push to squee
Elder’s FA Cup dream ended by Southampton
The fairytale run of Australian defender Callum Elder and his Wigan Athletic in England’s FA Cup is over after their quarter-final loss to Southampton on Monday morning (AEDT). Wigan, who play in League One, went down 2-0 at the DW Stadium after second-half goals from Pierre-E
Aussies Abroad: Rogic shines as Celtic held
Tom Rogic will head into Caltex Socceroos camp this week with another impressive 90 minutes under his belt as Celtic were held to a draw against Motherwell in the SPL overnight. Despite dominating the match and having double the shots at goal than their hosts, the Hoops were u