Australia keeper Schwarzer retires from international football | sports | Hindustan Times
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Australia keeper Schwarzer retires from international football

sports Updated: Nov 06, 2013 07:30 IST
Australia goalkeeper

Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer announced his retirement from international football Wednesday after a 20-year career that included two World Cup tournaments.

Football Federation Australia said that 41-year-old Schwarzer notified it of his retirement decision after initially being included in new national coach Ange Postecoglou's squad for a friendly against Costa Rica in Sydney on November 19.

Schwarzer was Australia's most-capped player with 109 appearances since his debut in 1993. He moved to Chelsea as backup to established Petr Cech this season after more than five years and 172 appearances at Fulham.

Schwarzer will be off-contract with Chelsea at the end of the Premier League season and his future with the team is uncertain.

Australia has qualified for next year's World Cup in Brazil, and Schwarzer represented Australia at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments.

Schwarzer played in Australia's 6-0 loss to Brazil in his last match for the national team in September. He has not allowed a goal in two League Cup matches for Chelsea.

"Mark has been a tremendous servant for the national team," Postecoglou said. "He has been one of our best performers over a long period of time and he has always remained passionate about playing for Australia. I know the Australian football community will join me in paying tribute to Mark for everything he's done for the Socceroos."

Australia teammate Tim Cahill praised Schwarzer as one of the country's greatest footballers.

"Mark Schwarzer a true professional and is one of the all-time greats for our game to ever wear a Socceroos jersey," Cahill said on Twitter.

Schwarzer was part of five World Cup qualifying campaigns. He saved two penalties for the Socceroos in the successful playoff against Uruguay in 2005, allowing Australia to qualify for Germany in 2006, its first appearance at a World Cup since 1974.

He began his career in Australia with the Marconi Stallions from 1990 to 1994, then played in Europe with Dynamo Dresden (1994-95), FC Kaiserslautern (1995-96), Bradford City (1996-97), Middlesbrough (1997-2008) and Fulham (2008-13) before moving to Chelsea this season.

Schwarzer won a League Cup in 2003-04 with Middlesbrough and was named Fulham player of the year in 2008-09.

Schwarzer's international retirement leaves 25-year-old Mitch Langerak as the front-runner for the Australia goalkeeping role.

Langerak was included in Postecoglou's 22-man squad for the Costa Rica match. Luke Wilkshire and Sasa Ognenovski were axed by the new coach and face an uncertain future with the side ahead of the World Cup.

Captain Lucas Neill was retained despite recent criticism of his leadership after the 6-0 losses to Brazil and later France that resulted in former coach Holger Osieck being fired. Postecoglou said Wednesday he would not guarantee Neill's continuing captaincy role past the Costa Rica match.