Australia’s long-serving goalkeeper has become an icon of Australian football thanks to many years of confident displays and his involvement with the team’s historic results. He has been the undisputed No1 for a number of years and was pivotal in Australia reaching the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ and also South Africa 2010.
Although now 37 Schwarzer’s form is as good as ever and he is showing no sign of wanting to draw the curtain on a remarkable career. Now within sight of being Australia’s most capped player of all time, with the record currently held by former skipper Alex Tobin who made 87 appearances. Indeed Schwarzer's tally could have been significantly higher only for his career to overlap with the likes of Mark Bosnich and Zeljko Kalac. Missing out on playing during qualifiers for France 1998 meant Schwarzer has appeared in a total of four FIFA World Cup campaigns, but ultimately missed the opportunity to become the first Australian to appear in five.
After 11 years at Middlesbrough, Schwarzer has enjoyed a new lease of life since arriving at Fulham two years ago helping the club to seventh in his first season, while this term the Cottagers enjoyed a famous UEFA Europa League run. The 37-year-old’s fine form saw him collect the Premier League's Player of the Month for February.
An efficient shotstopper whose 196cm frame allows for domination of the penalty area. His untiring training ground ethic and commitment to the cause make Schwarzer an inspiration within the Socceroo camp. One of the group leaders Schwarzer has proudly captained his country on several occasions.
Schwarzer’s personal achievements are numerous and include 400 Premier League appearances and nearly 700 career matches. His well-documented penalty shoot-out heroics against Uruguay were key to Australia reaching Germany 2006 and the custodian helped Australia achieve a proud record of conceding just four goals in their 14 matches in qualification for South Africa 2010.
Renowned also for his ability to deny an opponent from the penalty spot, Schwarzer’s career has been intertwined with heroics from 12 yards. Indeed in his first full start for Australia at just 20 years old way back in 1993, he saved two penalties in a shoot-out to help the Socceroos overcome Canada in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. Few could imagine he would repeat that feat in far-more dramatic and historic circumstances with a double block at the end of Australia’s penalty shoot-out victory over Uruguay some 12 years later.
In the current campaign Schwarzer provided similar heroics stopping a late penalty to help Australia to a share of the points in China in just the second match of the campaign. It proved to be a sign of things to come as the Socceroos maintained their remarkable defensive record throughout the qualification series.
Sydney-born but with German parents, Schwarzer played his first two seasons overseas with Dynamo Dresden and Kaiserslautern meaning Australia’s South Africa 2010 opener against Germany will take on extra significance.