Mark Schwarzer owns one of the great Qantas Socceroo FIFA World Cup qualification moments and is determined to create another when Australia’s quest to qualify for Brazil in 2014 continues on Tuesday.
On 16 November 2005, it was Schwarzer’s pair of penalty shootout saves against Uruguay that gave Australia a chance to qualify for their first FIFA World Cup in 32 years and, of course, the rest is history.
At the Al Arabi Stadium in Doha, the likes of Schwarzer will provide the type of cool head under pressure that will be fundamental to an Australian success.
With a record number of Qantas Socceroo caps earned from six FIFA World Cup qualification campaigns, two FIFA World Cup’s proper and two AFC Asian Cup’s, few can compare to the experience and match smarts of Australia’s No.1.
“It’s huge, the guys that have been to World Cup’s understand the magnitude of the World Cup,” said Schwarzer.
“The boys that haven’t been there before can only assume or can only get little snippets of information that players give them on what it’s like to be there.
“They will only fully understand it and get the feel of it if they’re lucky enough to actually participate at one.
“Our aim is to make sure that we do qualify and if the boys do, then we can talk about what it’s going to be like and the boys themselves can experience it and that’s what’s important.”
Following Australia’s last outing away to Jordan, it has since emerged that Schwarzer and captain Lucas Neill led an immediate inquest inside the Qantas Socceroo change rooms at the King Abdullah Stadium.
Though the details of Schwarzer’s address to his teammates remain for their ears, the 40-year-old is happy to elaborate on the tone of his message.
“I won’t go into any specifics about what was said because what was said in the change rooms has to stay in the change rooms,” Schwarzer said.
“I was unhappy and I made sure that everyone was aware of that, that I wasn’t happy but also that they shouldn’t be happy with anything that went on in that game and that we all need to do better, a lot, lot better.
“Otherwise, we’re going to be looking at the exit. Ultimately, that’s in a nutshell what I said, just maybe a few other colourful words in between as well.”
The Qantas Socceroos resume their FIFA World Cup qualification campaign against Iraq at Doha’s Al Arabi Stadium at 5.15pm on Tuesday, 16 October (1.15am AEDT, Wednesday, 17 October).
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.