Australia book World Cup spot in dramatic shootout2 min read
Australia have qualified for the World Cup after beating Peru in a penalty shootout, becoming the penultimate team to reach the tournament.
Victory in the inter-confederation play-offs in Qatar ensures Australia will join Group D alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia. Australia also played France and Denmark at the 2018 World Cup.
Andrew Redmayne was the penalty hero after being subbed on in the final minute of extra-time for Maty Ryan with the score at 0-0.
Dancing on the line during every Peruvian penalty, he saved Alex Valera’s spot-kick in sudden-death to hand Australia a 5-4 shootout win.
Australia’s triumph maintains their record of qualifying for every World Cup since making their debut in 2006. They reached the round of 16 in their first appearance.
However, they struggled in the AFC qualification process, finishing behind Japan and Saudi Arabia, and had to beat UAE to reach the play-off final.
Graham Arnold’s side looked the better team in normal time, creating several good chances, with Ajdin Hrustic looking as if he had scored the vital goal late on — only for Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to make a superb save through a crowd of bodies.
Jackson Irvine also had a penalty claim waved away in injury-time.
However, Peru looked the more dangerous side in extra-time, with Edison Flores hitting the post with a towering header.
Australia replaced goalkeeper Ryan with Redmayne for the penalty shootout, but Peru seized the early advantage as Martin Boyle’s opening penalty was saved by Gallese, who sat nonchalantly on the floor between spot-kicks.
However, parity was restored after Luis Advincula hit the post with Peru’s third penalty.
Excellent penalties sent the shootout into sudden-death, only for Redmayne to conjure the crucial save, diving to his right to deny the unfortunate Valera.
Australia will be in Qatar this winter, with the tournament running from November 21 to December 18.
The final place at the World Cup will be decided on Tuesday when New Zealand face Costa Rica.