Schwarzer honoured to be Tobin's equal

January 23, 2011
By Liam FitzGibbon

Mark Schwarzer is no stranger to milestones but admits equalling Alex Tobin's Socceroos caps record in Wednesday morning's (AEDT) Asian Cup semi-final will be a "massive" moment in his career.

The 38-year-old goalkeeper is set to make his 87th appearance in A internationals against Uzbekistan to pull alongside Tobin, whose esteemed international career spanned from 1988 to 1998.

Schwarzer could break the record in Qatar if Australia reach the final, or if he plays in the third-fourth playoff should they lose their semi-final.

But the Fulham shot-stopper said even equalling Tobin's record would be a cherished honour.

Tobin was in the Australian side when Schwarzer made his Socceroos debut as a 20-year-old against Canada in 1993.

"It'll be a fantastic honour to match him," Schwarzer said.

"He is a fantastic servant still to the game today.

"He was a great player for the Socceroos and I made my debut in the national team when he was playing, so there's a bit of history there as well between the two of us.

"He's such a gentleman and it'll be an honour to be on the same amount of games as him."

Still at the top of his game for club and country, Schwarzer has no immediate plans of retirement and could conceivably take his international caps beyond a century.

He was thrown into the international limelight in a World Cup qualifier in Edmonton in 1993, coming on as a substitute after first-choice Robert Zabica was sent off after 17 minutes.

But it was the return leg in Sydney where he really made his mark, saving two penalties to send Australia to the final phase of qualifying against Argentina.

Schwarzer had to bide is time to make the No.1 jersey his own but hasn't looked back since, with his form instrumental in helping Australia qualify for back-to-back World Cups.

Schwarzer admits he sometimes looks back on the matches against Canada 18 years ago and has to pinch himself.

"I always had ambition to play at the highest level and play for my national team as long as I possibly could," he said.

"But to have continued to play as long as I have, I wouldn't have said I thought that was possible.

"But it is what it is and you work on it every day.

"I don't take anything for granted, and that's also been for me what's worked very well.

"I work as hard as I can and try to improve even at the tender age of 38. I still try to improve on things as much as possible and work on things as much as possible. I'm enjoying it."