Valeri set for half century in Hwaseong

Qantas Socceroo Carl Valeri is in line to make his 50th senior international appearance for Australia in the international friendly against the Korea Republic.

Qantas Socceroo Carl Valeri is in line to make his 50th senior international appearance for Australia in the international friendly against the Korea Republic.

Valeri commenced his Australia career with a start against China in Guangzhou five years ago and has since accumulated an impressive tally of caps, including starts at one FIFA World Cup and two AFC Asian Cup-s.

The 28-year-old scored his first and, as yet, only goal for the Qantas Socceroos against Uzbekistan at the semi final stage of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

Furthermore, upon debuting for the Qantas Socceroos, Valeri joined an exclusive group of players to have represented Australia at every restricted age level (Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23) and senior international level.

At youth levels, Valeri has managed an appearance at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens alongside starts at the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and 2001 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Trindad and Tobago.

The focus will very much be on Valeri-s achievements at senior level, however, when one of Australia-s most consistent recent performers joins the likes of Mark Schwarzer, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire and Mark Bresciano in the half-century club.

“It means a lot, if you had have told me back in 2009 that I was going to play fifty games for Australia I probably would have laughed,” Valeri said.

“It-s passed very quickly and that obviously means I-ve had a lot of fun doing it.

“(Among my favourite memories) Definitely the World Cup experience, I mean, that-s the maximum a player can dream for, I think, in football.

“The World Cup, the whole experience, the qualifiers, the up-s and down-s at the World Cup there, everything was a fantastic experience.

“The experience at the Asian Cup was very unique and we had a great time, that-s important in football too. Unfortunately we lost the final, but it was still a great experience.”

Valeri-s 49 caps to date makes him one of the more senior Qantas Socceroo squad members in Hwaseong and on the occasion of achieving his half-century, the Sassuolo midfielder will play a crucial role in the Australian engine room.

With the Qantas Socceroos, and Valeri, having performed so impressively last outing against Iraq, Australia go into the clash eager to build upon the momentum gained from their 2-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying triumph in Doha.

“It-s a very important stepping stone, every game, every chance we get to get together is important for us to do well,” Valeri said.

“It-s also important, there-s a lot of new faces here and they-ve got to put their hand up and be willing to take the next step and the guys that have been in here before have got to keep their performances going.

“It-s a good mix and I love having new faces in the camp, it brings enthusiasm to the group and I like to see the younger players coming through.”

The Qantas Socceroos will meet the challenge of fellow Asian heavyweights the Korea Republic at the Hwaseong Stadium on Wednesday, 14 November. Kick off is at 7pm local time (Kick off 9pm AEDT).

The Qantas Socceroos return to Australia in 2013, for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman at Sydney-s Stadium Australia at 7.30pm, Tuesday, 26 March, followed by Iraq, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 18 June.

Tickets for both matches at Stadium Australia are on sale now through Ticketek or via phone, 132 849.