Australia win sudden death battle with Peru for World Cup place
DOHA (AFP, REUTERS) - Australia beat Peru in a sudden death penalty shootout on Monday (June 13) to secure the penultimate free place at the 2022 World Cup finals.
The playoff between the Asian and South American qualifiers had been goalless after 120 minutes and was only decided when Peru's Alex Valera missed his side's sixth penalty, giving Australia a 5-4 win at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium in Doha.
The winners, 42nd in the world rankings, claimed their sixth ticket to the World Cup finals and a Group D opening match against defending champions France on November 22.
Peru, 22nd in Fifa's list and who beat Australia 2-0 at the 2018 World Cup group stage, were roared on by 10,000 fans, most of whom had flown halfway round the globe for the playoff only to see a frustrating encounter between the rivals.
Australia's Martin Boyle missed his side's first penalty but all were then successful.
Australia's substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne danced on the goal line in a bid to upset the Peru players and Luis Advincula's shot cannoned off a post while Valera's miss set off wild celebrations among the Socceroos and their band of a few hundred supporters.
Redmayne, a 33-year-old journeyman who had trials at Arsenal as a teenager, was brought on for his third cap with three minutes to play at the end of extra time.
“He’s a very good penalty saver and I did something that could affect them mentally,” a croaky-voiced coach Graham Arnold explained at the post-match press conference.
“They were probably asking themselves the question, ‘Why is this guy being brought on, he has to be good’.
“Maybe that was the reason they hit the post. It’s a 1 per cent mental effort to trouble the Peru penalty takers. It was a risk but it worked out.”
Redmayne’s antics were certainly a distraction. He danced along the line, waving his arms furiously, wiggling his hips and moving from side to side.
“I’m a bit lost for words. It’s a team game, it’s a team effort so I can’t take any more credit than any of the other 27 (players) who are here,” he said.
“This idea was floated pre-selection that this might eventuate in these kind of circumstances and for the two or three weeks we’ve been here (in Qatar), I’ve kind of had that in my mind.
“I’ve been working on a few things in training but at the end of the day, it’s a flip of the coin, it’s either right or left.
“I’m no hero, I just played my role like everyone did tonight.”
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