After Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer announced his retirement earlier in the week we look back at some of the stalwart’s greatest moments for his nation.
After Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer announced his retirement earlier in the week we look back at some of the stalwart-s greatest moments for his country.
Early heroics against Canada Australia had been set the task of defeating Canada over two legs to take them to a final playoff for qualification to the 1994 USA FIFA World Cup. The Socceroos had Robert Zabica sent off in the 17th minute in the first leg in Canada which saw a 20-year-old Schwarzer given his chance to shine. The Socceroos took an unlikely lead in the contest on the stroke of half-time thanks to a fortuitous own-goal. However the battle with 10 men on foreign soil proved too much in the second half, with the team eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat although Schwarzer equipped himself well. In the return leg in Sydney Schwarzer was the star as he made multiple saves after extra time to help Australia win 4-1 in a penalty shootout and progress to take on Argentina to secure a World Cup berth for the first time in 20 years. It wasn-t to be though as the world class Argentinians broke the Socceroos hearts.
2005 WC qualifier in Sydney With Australia looking to make their first World Cup in 32 years, Mark Schwarzer pulled off the most important saves of his career to see the Socceroos book their tickets to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The Socceroos lost the opening match of the two leg qualifier 1-0 in Uruguay before Mark Bresciano-s goal in Sydney squared the ledger, sending it to extra time. Neither side could find a winner and the defining moment of his career was upon him. Schwarzer made two diving saves in the penalty shootout to set up John Aloisi-s chance to send the Aussies to the World Cup. Aloisi converted and while much of the praise was saved for the striker there was no doubt that Schwarzer had played as big a role as any to break Australia-s World Cup drought.
2011 Asian Cup campaign in Qatar With Australia having bowed out in the quarter finals of their first Asian Cup appearance in 2007, the Socceroos made it all the way through to the final in Qatar in 2011. A key part of the Aussies success was attributed to Schwarzer who only let in two goals through out the entire tournament. The Socceroos came through the group stage on top of their group with their only blemish a 1-1 draw with fellow Asian high-fliers South Korea. Schwarzer then kept clean sheets in the Socceroos 1-0 extra-time win over Iraq and 6-0 semi-final demolition of Uzbekistan. Australia had come so close to claiming a famous win in Doha as they finished the final 0-0 after regular time against Japan. It wasn't to be however as Tadanari Lee was left wide open deep inside the 18 yard box to give Schwarzer no chance as the Blue Samurai claimed their fourth Asian Cup trophy.
Bringing up the century in Lebanon Mark Schwarzer finished his career with an amazing 109 caps for his country and brought up his century away to Lebanon in Beirut. The Socceroos ensured that their veteran would celebrate his milestone in style as they claimed a 3-0 victory. Schwarzer-s clean sheet did not come without its testing moments though, as Roda Antar and Hassan Maatouk both troubled the Socceroos defense, but as always Schwarzer was up to the task.
2013 World Cup qualifier in Japan With Australia-s qualification for the 2014 Brazil World Cup looking shaky the Socceroos headed to Japan in what was a crucial clash in the long qualifying campaign. The Japanese dominated a large portion of the clash but could not manage to beat the most capped Socceroo of all time. Schwarzer made a trademark off balance one handed save that defined his ability throughout his career to pull off the spectacular when his side needed it most. After Tommy Oar-s intended cross found Australia with an unlikely 1-0 lead, Schwarzer could not keep out a late penalty but his work throughout the game was enough to help earn Australia a valuable away point to eventually ensure that heading into the last qualification match against Iraq the Socceroos destiny was in their own hands.
Upcoming Match Details
Socceroos vs Costa Rica Tuesday 19 November 2013 Allianz Stadium, Sydney Kick Off: 7.30pm Gates Open: 6.00pm
The match will be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.
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