2010 World Cup Player Profile: Mark Schwarzer, Veteran Backbone In The Australian Goal

Why You'll Like Him

He is an extremely consistent goalkeeper and hardly makes mistakes.

Why You'll Hate Him

He doesn't kick the ball that deep when he has the chance to kick the ball down-field.

Mark Schwarzer was born and raised in Australia. His parents came to Australia from Germany in 1968. Schwarzer was born in North Richmond. He went to Richmond North Public High School.

He started his professional career with the Marconi Stallions of the National Soccer League. He was 19 at the time. He then went on to play in Germany. He played with 2 clubs in Germany. He played for Dynamo Dresden from 1994 - 1995. He then played for Kaiserslauten in 1995 -1996.

His England career began with Bradford City in 1996 - 1997. He then moved on to Middlesborough where he played from 1997 -2008. He moved to Fulham in 2008 and has been with the club ever since.

Personally, Mark is married with 2 children. He speaks English, Spanish and German. In 2009 he was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia. According to wikipedia, this medal is "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service". This medal was established by Elizabeth II Queen of Australia. This is an incredible honor for Schwarzer.

Fact Sheet

Age: 37

Position: Goalkeeper

Club Teams: Marconi Stallions (1990-94), Dynamo Dresden (1994-95), Kaiserslauten (1995-96), Bradford City (1996-97), Middlesborough (1997-2008), Fulham (2008-present)

National Team Debut: 1989

Caps: 87

World Cup(s): 2006

Club World

Schwarzer's professional career really took off with Middlesborough. He played for them from 1997 - 2008. I will mention some of his highlights at Middlesborough. In 2004, he was a part of the club that took the League Cup by beating Bolton. He is also well known for an important save he made against Manchester City in the 2004- 2005 season. He made a save on Robbie Fowler on a penalty kick. That save kept a 1 - 1 tie in tact. That tie gave Middlesborough seventh place in the EPL. Middlesborough qualified for the UEFA Cup. Mark played in the UEFA Cup final which Middlesborough lost 4 -0. In 2007, he became the Premier League's longest serving foreigner with one club.

In 2008, he came to Fulham. He has been at the club ever since. In his first season with Fulham he was a huge part of the club that ended 7th in the Premier League. That season Fulham needed big saves from their goalkeeper. He was the Fulham Player of the Year for the 2008 - 2009 season. He also was integral in Fulham's Europa League run to the Final. In my opinion they don't get to the final match without Mark Schwarzer. Mark's time has been legendary at Fulham. Whenever Fulham have needed him to step up Mark has done his job. He personally has kept Fulham just in many matches.

National Team

Mark made his debut for for the Senior National team in the 1994 World Cup Qualifier for Australia against Canada. One of Schwarzer's highlights has to be in a playoff to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. It was a 2 leg play-off against Uruguay. Uruguay won the first leg 1 - 0. In the second leg, Australia won 1 - 0. It went to penalty kicks to go to the World Cup. Australia won 4 - 2 with 2 saves from Schwarzer.

Mark played in the World Cup. Against Japan he gave up one goal. Against the powerhouse Brazil he did give up 2 goals. He also played in the round of 16 against Italy. He did give up a penalty kick in stoppage time to Francesco Totti. Unfortunately, Australia did lose this game and did not continue in the World Cup. Italy ended up winning the World Cup.

What to Look For

I expect Mark Schwarzer to be a major contributor to Australia in the World Cup. There are a few reasons why I think you should follow Mark in the World Cup.

First, as a goalkeeper he hardly ever makes mistakes. He will keep Australia in many matches during the competition. You are going to have to beat him with a great shot. He is not going to beat himself. He is also a fiery competitor that will keep his teammates in the match.

Second, He is just the ultimate leader on the pitch. Mark's confidence can spread throughout the club. When he makes a big save, it definitely can invigorate a team to win a match.

Third, he has the ability to make the incredible save. I have seen this many times for Fulham. Even if you think he is beaten by a shot, he probably is not. He has the ability to make that finger- tipped save and that one on one save. His saves tend to be very dramatic.

In concluding, Mark will keep Australia in many matches this World Cup. They might not be predicted to do too much in the competition. However, I would just keep an eye out for Australia as long as Mark Schwarzer is their Goalkeeper.

Russ Goldman covers all things Fulham at his SB Nation blog, Cottagers Confidential. He will be contributing to SB Nation Soccer in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup.

For more World Cup coverage, visit the Dirty Tackle blog from our partners at Yahoo!

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