Australia’s national team, qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 after defeating Peru national team 5-4 on penalties after tied in 120 minutes 0-0 in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Inter-Continentals Playoff at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan Qatar.
Australia started brightly with Mitchell Duke taking possession of a loose ball on the edge of the Peruvian area and rifling an effort that whizzed just wide off the upright inside the opening three minutes.
Peru responded a minute later as Al Hilal SFC winger Andre Carrillo advanced down the right and whipped a cross for Gianluca Lapadula who headed it high.
Play centred around the middle of the park for extended spells of the first half with Jackson Irvine missing the target twice with headers, first from Aaron Mooy’s out-swinging corner then following some fine footwork and cross from Martin Boyle on the right.
Peru had the first big chance of the second half as Saudi Arabia based winger Christian Cueva moved into space on the left flank and attempted a shot with his left, but with the angle narrowing, he struck the outside of the netting instead.
Head coach Graham Arnold looked to inject more pace and width into the Australian attack, bringing on Awer Mabil to replace Mitchell Duke midway through the second half.
The Socceroos’ closest effort of the half yet came from a free-kick after Boyle was fouled 30 yards from the Peruvian goal and Ajdin Hrustic looked to bend one into the back of the net but was denied by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Five minutes from time, left-back Aziz Behich came within a whisker of scoring a wonder goal as he embarked on a 40-yard slaloming run from the flank, before cutting inside on his right and curling a shot that passed agonisingly close on the wrong side of the upright.
The Socceroos pushed higher as the game wore on and Hrustic was again so close to settling the tie after Mabil showed incredible desire and pace to chase a long ball down the left and feed the Eintracht Frankfurt attacking midfielder whose side-footed shot was caught by Gallese at the bottom corner as the 90 minutes ended goalless.
A left-footed Edison Flores effort from 20 yards out that was caught confidently by Matt Ryan was the highlight of an otherwise cagey first 15 minutes of extra time with Australia remaining compact throughout.
Peru had back-to-back chances to open the scoring straight after resumption of play first with Cueva missing the target from close range then moments later with a Flores header that beat Ryan but ricocheted off the post.
With the clock ticking towards 120 minutes, coach Arnold opted to bring on goalkeeper Redmayne for Ryan for the penalty shootout.
Martin Boyle missed Australia’s opening penalty but the first five kicks ended 4-4 after Luis Advincula hit the post for Peru, taking it to sudden death where Awer Mabil scored for the Socceroos before Redmayne rewarded his coach with saving Alex Valera’s penalty to send Australia to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The Socceroos join hosts Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia, Japan, IR Iran, and Korea Republic in the Finals and are first time in history in Asia to have six representatives in the FIFA World Cup.
Australia will be placed in Group D alongside France, Denmark, and Tunisia.
Credit Photo : Socceroos