SYDNEY - Australia's World Cup qualifying campaign is going strong but goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes the Socceroos must also do all they can to reach the 2011 Asian Cup finals.
Australia have drawn away to Indonesia and lost at home to Kuwait in their Asian Cup qualifiers after choosing a team made up of players from the fledgling domestic league.
Their top European-based players, including Schwarzer, have been restricted to playing in World Cup qualifiers but could be available for the Asian Cup when the 2010 campaign ends in June.
"It's vitally important that first and foremost not only do we qualify for the World Cup, but it's imperative that we qualify for the Asian Cup," Schwarzer told reporters in Australia on Friday.
Despite managing just a point from their first two Asian Cup qualifiers, Schwarzer said he was confident they could still qualify, adding that he would be keen to play his part.
The Socceroos are in a four-team group with Indonesia, Kuwait and Oman, with the top two advancing to the 2011 tournament in Qatar. The next round of qualifiers is in November.
"It's obviously been very disappointing .... (but) we've still got time to put things right," Schwarzer said.
Australia's World Cup campaign is flying along, with three wins and a draw in their first four matches putting them top of the Group 1 standings with 10 points.
Australia's next match is on April 1 against bottom-placed Uzbekistan at Sydney's Olympic stadium, the same venue where the Socceroos beat Uruguay on penalties to qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
"It's going to be very, very difficult to match that sort of atmosphere as it was in 2005 but I hope that we go close," Schwarzer said.
"I'm sure that everyone will give 100 percent support because we've had tremendous support for the national team in the last four or five years."comments