Mark Schwarzer retires from Socceroos
Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has announced his retirement from international football, seven months out from the 2014 World Cup.
Schwarzer, 41, would have been the second oldest player in World Cup history -- just behind the mark set by Cameroon's Roger Milla -- had he continued through to Brazil next year.
However, the Chelsea shot-stopper has decided to step off the international stage prior to Australia's upcoming friendly against Costa Rica on November 19.
After collecting 109 caps for the national team, Schwarzer will perhaps best be remembered in Australia for his heroics in the 2005 penalty shootout in a World Cup qualification playoff against Uruguay.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou paid tribute to Schwarzer's legacy.
"Mark was included in this squad but decided he wanted to announce his retirement and not to participate," he said. "I have the utmost respect, firstly for his decision which was his decision and secondly it would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to him.
"He's no doubt one of the all time greats for the Socceroos, a great servant and always available to play for the national team, sometimes under difficult circumstances.
"He's an absolute icon of our game and I think he will rightly be honoured by everyone involved at the appropriate time. But obviously as coach of our national team, I think that when we talk about culture and restoring pride to our national team shirt, the champions of our game -- and Mark is right up there -- get honoured in the right way."
Socceroo team-mate Tim Cahill was among many current and former players to express their acclaim after Schwarzer's decision.
Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop also praised the contribution of Schwarzer over his international career.
"He's embodied the pride and passion of the Socceroos jersey, and we will look for an opportunity for all football fans to wish him good luck in the future -- he's still playing in the EPL, which is an amazing achievement at 41 -- but we will find an opportunity in the coming months to properly pay tribute to him and his contribution."
The news came on the day when new Australia boss Ange Postecoglou named his first squad, with Luke Wilkshire and Brett Holman notable absentees.
Australia squad: Oliver Bozanic, Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, James Holland, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak (gk), Matthew Leckie, Ryan McGowan, Matthew McKay, Mark Milligan, Lucas Neill, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Mat Ryan (gk), Dario Vidosic, Rhys Williams, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo.