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.