Schwarzer won't give up No.1 spot easily
Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer certainly won't be relinquishing his No.1 spot easily, declaring he's in the form of his life heading into next year's World Cup.
And the veteran gloveman will have to be at the top of his game on Saturday (Sunday AEST) when the Socceroos face a rampant Brazilian side who score goals for fun.
Schwarzer, who turns 41 next month, is set to become the second oldest player at a World Cup (behind Cameroon's Roger Milla, aged 42 at the 1994 tournament) when the showpiece kicks off in Brazil in June.
It will be his third World Cup campaign, having represented Australia in the 2006 and 2010 editions, and he says he's only gotten better with age.
"I think I am continuing to progress and becoming better as the years go by," he said on Thursday.
"To still be playing at this age I've got to be doing something right.
"To also be in the situation where you have the likes of Chelsea wanting you to be a part of the squad, that also shows that you are doing something right."
Schwarzer's recent move from being Fulham's first-choice gloveman to Chelsea, where he'll be playing second fiddle to Petr Czech, raised some eyebrows.
It also a move that appears to have left the door open to the many aspiring Socceroos keepers nipping at his heels to take his place.
The likes of Borussia Dortmund's Mitch Langerak, Club Brugge's No.1 stopper Mathew Ryan - both part of the current squad in Brasilia - along with Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Brad Jones (Liverpool) and Adam Federici (Reading) are all genuine contenders in what coach Holger Osieck has labelled a "tight race" for the No.1 spot in Brazil next year.
"For ever every position there is a race on," Schwarzer admitted.
"Nobody is guaranteed a spot. Everybody has to perform and show that they are in peak form and fitness and ready for the World Cup.
"I look at them all as very good young goalkeepers coming through.
"Matty has obviously made a move overseas now to Belgium and is playing well. Mitch is in a similar situation to me as with Brad Jones (not getting regular game-time).
"We've got an abundance of goalkeepers out there. It's going to be a big decision for the manager to make."
Schwarzer will face Chelsea teammates Oscar and David Luiz on Saturday and says there's been a bit if banter between the trio in the Stanford Bridge changerooms ahead of the Mane Garrincha stadium clash.
But all jokes aside: "We know we're up against one of best teams on the planet," he said.