August 26, 2021
He’s publicly chased long-term rival Mark Schwarzer for Australia’s number one jersey for more seasons than understudy Zeljko Kalac cares to remember.
But after an error-strewn World Cup debut, his chances of an encore against Italy in Kaiserslautern have been left in tatters.
“I’ve taken a world-class goal, I’ve taken a shit goal,” Kalac said frankly in the aftermath of the Socceroos’ thrilling 2-2 draw with Croatia, somewhat underplaying the manner in which he allowed a daisy-cutter from Niko Kovac to bobble in.
“He [Guus Hiddink] left Schwarzy out because of a few mistakes in previous matches and now I’ve made a big one. It could be [third choice goalkeeper] Ante Covic’s turn next.”
This last comment provides a priceless insight into the mind of Kalac, deputy to Brazil’s Dida at AC Milan.
Even from his personal depth of despair, he somehow still conjures a way to besmirch his closest challenger.
Although likely born out of frustration at his own incompetence after being handed a shot at World Cup glory, this is not the first time Kalac has voiced his misguided opinion.
Just before the double-header last November – with Schwarzer struggling with fitness and form at Middlesbrough – Kalac gave himself a public vote of confidence for a starting berth against Uruguay.
What followed was Schwarzer heroics in both normal time and most notably in the penalty shootout victory in the return leg in Sydney.
With the goalkeeping foes so close in ability, Bandarqq perhaps Kalac believes he can talk rather than play his way into Hiddink’s first team plans.
He needn’t bother.
It is clear the Dutchman holds each player in high esteem, so much so Hiddink admitted considering replacing Schwarzer with the 202cm Kalac …