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In briefthe right".Some 40 minutes later, cue pandemonium and tears in equal measure. The All Whites were destined for South Africa and this typically modest Kiwi was guaranteed a free Steinlager in every bar in his home town of Napier.Broken DreamBut no sooner had the cheers died down, when a week later Mark was on crutches - his dream of appearing in the greatest football show on earth hanging on the word of his surgeon."I came for a cross in training, collided with one of our boys and landed awkwardly. I fractured the top of my tibia. Once I found out my reaction was 'will I miss South Africa'? "My recovery's been good and I'm well on the way to full fitness.""My football career has been very up and down. I'm very aware of how important it is to enjoy the highs, as the lows can be very drawn out.""We're going to the World Cup with nothing to lose. If you knew the result before the game, there'd be no reason to play."There's going to be upsets at the World Cup, no doubt. It's just a matter of when. We'll be doing our very best to make sure we're involved in one or two."Packing UpHowever the 33-year old keeper remembers how close he came to missing out on the chance to perform on the world stage, when just three years ago he considered hanging up his gloves and finding a new career."I came over to the UK, played for Bradford City, Walsall and St Johnstone. I struggled with injuries and had three operations in as many years and when no one came in for me after I'd finished at St Johnstone I thought that was it. "In 2006, I was dusting off the CV and thinking what I should do next when a call came in from the now defunkt A-League team back in Auckland."I headed home and things have gone really well for me since then," said Mark, who now has 23 caps for his country to his name.Whilst nothing is guaranteed, his penalty heroics, along with the continuing ban for Glen Moss, makes Mark favourite to remain custodian when the All Whites take on Slovakia, Italy and Paraguay when Group F gets underway on June 15 in Rustenburg.Few expect them to do better than their countrymen did in '82 when they lost all three matches against Brazil (4-0), USSR (3-0) and Scotland (5-2).With rehabilitation now in full swing, Mark can once again dare to dream of South Africa. His hands are full at home as well following the arrival of son Jack, six months ago. "My wife says she's looking after two babies at the moment," he says.He expects to be kept busy come June too. But if he needs a break from the physio this week, he can always sit back and watch the playoff against Bahrain and the save that's rewritten the history books.You can see Mark's heroics for yourself. Visit: In the Internationals in early March, Joe Hart was selected ahead of Ben Foster in the England squad to face Egypt. Another keeper with World Cup aspirations, Blackburn Rovers' Paul Robinson has suffered a setback being ruled out for over a month with a calf injury sustained against former club Spurs.l North of the border, Rangers' Allan McGregor was omitted from Craig Levein's first squad as Scotland manager (due to eye injuries sustained in an incident in Glasgow city centre) - with Craig Gordon, David Marshall and McGregor's Rangers team-mate Neil Alexander the chosen keepers. Gordon made some important saves to ensure a clean sheet and a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic. l Darren Ward has left his post as Peterborough United goalkeeper coach, to take up a similar role under Darren Ferguson at Preston North End. By way of replacement the Posh signed former Northampton and Lincoln City stopper Barry Richardson to perform the coaching duties at London Road.l Similarly, Ludek Miklosko has been relieved of his duties at West Ham and has been replaced by Kevin Hitchcock.l Motherwell goalkeeper John Ruddy (on loan from Everton) and Swansea City's Dorus De Vries are both currently leading the Soccer AM 'Golden Glove' competition.l Flamboyant midfielder Robbie Savage made a brief foray into the 'goalkeeper's union' with a cameo between the sticks for Derby Cty at Reading. First-choice goalie Stephen Bywater went off injured in the 13th minute, and his replacement Saul Deeney was sent-off for a foul in the penalty are in the 41st minute with Derby 2-1 down.l Nottingham Forest's Lee Camp was voted the highest ranking 'keeper in the Football League's Championship Player of the Year award, announced Sunday 14th March.l Juventus and Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon went to extraordinary lengths to distance himself from a tabloid article in Torino Cronaca alleging that his Brazilian team mate Amauri was involved in a relationship with his girlfriend, model Alena Seredova. Buffon, his girlfriend and Amauri tracked down the reporter to a restaurant where they confronted him and forced him to issue a stuttering apology for the falsehoods written...! "I've been called gay, a fascist, I've read how my relationship is in tatters, I've been called a loser, I can deal with all that," Buffon said. "But mess with my family and we've got a problem . . ."backpage imagesSPRING 20107WORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW

DREAMAmericanImage by Neville Williams / courtesy of Aston Villa FCB r a d G u z a nWORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW WORLD CUP PREVIEW