Schwarzer in elite group
SYDNEY (AAP): Socceroos hero Mark Schwarzer joined an elite group of international footballers on Boxing Day, although the Middlesbrough goalkeeper may not want to be reminded of his milestone day. Schwarzer, who's two saves in the penalty shootout against Uruguay in Sydney last month sent the Socceroos to their first World Cup in 32 years, became the fifth foreign player to clock up 250 games for one club in the English Premier League during Boro's 2-0 loss to Blackburn at the Riverside. The Australian shot-stopper joins former Arsenal duo Dennis Bergkamp (304 games) and Patrick Viera (279), Southampton defender Claus Lundkvam (290) and ex-Manchester United 'keeper Peter Schmeichel (252) on the list. But, it was anything but a momentous occasion for Schwarzer as Boro blew a string of early chances before Blackburn closed the game with a pair of well taken goals by Shefki Kuqi. Schwarzer was not helped by Socceroo teammate Brett Emerton who's 38th minute cross set up Blackburn's first goal. Schwarzer came out to fist the ball clear but was beaten to the punch by Kuqi's head. Boro coach Steve McClaren refuted claims the goal was Schwarzer's fault. "I'll have to have a look at it but before the ball goes into the net there's usually about four or five mistakes before hand, and that's the sort of spell we're in at the moment where mistakes are getting punished," McClaren told reporters. Kuqi completed a miserable day for Boro and Schwarzer with his second goal on 79 minutes.