A virtual ever–present for the national team since making his debut in early 2005, Culina started in all four games at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, as well as all four games at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. A high-energy and technically gifted midfielder, Culina is very much at home playing under the guidance of current coach Pim Verbeek and Germany 2006 boss Guus Hiddink, having spent a total of nine seasons in the Dutch Eredivisie. Generally playing in a defensive midfield role, his amazing stamina and willingness to make himself available to receive the ball are highly valued by team-mates.
Culina remains the youngest player to feature in an Australian grand final having played for Sydney United as 16-year-old in 1997. He spent three seasons in the Australian league before a move to Ajax Amsterdam. Struggling to find game time at the Dutch giants he was loaned out to Germinal Beerschot and De Graafschap, before finding his feet in the Eredivisie with a move to FC Twente in 2004 where his career took off both domestically and internationally.
Following his international debut and swathe of goals for Twente, Culina commenced a highly successful four-year stint at PSV Eindhoven having been recruited by Hiddink, the club’s then manager. Three successive Eredivisie titles followed in a feat unmatched by any Socceroo playing in Europe’s top leagues.
One of many in the current Australian squad who competed at the 2000 Olympic Football Tournament in Sydney, Culina also played at the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005. Though with a fierce shot and a proven record in domestic football, his international goal return has remained modest. Capable of also slotting into a right full-back role or in an offensive midfield role, Culina remain a major asset to the squad.
With father Branko, a long-serving coach in the Australian national league, currently at Newcastle Jets, Jason last year elected to buck the trend of his national team colleagues by returning from Europe while in the peak of his career, linking up with new club Gold Coast United. Despite concerns about match fitness leading into South Africa, Culina joined PSV for training in March, following the conclusion of an impressive season in the A-League.