Australia qualified for the World Cup for the fifth consecutive time after beating Peru 5-4 on penalties in the intercontinental play-off on Monday.
Teams failed to score and overtime at Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium, goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, who sent a substitute for captain Matt Ryan in the final seconds of extra time, proved himself the star of Australia by saving the last penalty. From Alex Valera.
“I’m not a hero,” Redmayne said. “I just played my part like everyone else tonight. I won’t take credit for that.”
Ryan’s take-off with Redmayne, who had made only two previous caps, was a huge gamble from Sokers coach Graham Arnold.
But Redmayne’s unconventional dance, jumping along the goal line, arms and legs as the Peruvian players advanced, worked.
“Andrew Redmayne is a very good penalty kick keeper,” said the emotional Arnold in a TV interview after the match, explaining that he made the change to put “a little bit of uncertainty in their brains, getting into the mental side of Peru.”
Australia qualified the hard way in a campaign mostly played away due to travel restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, finishing third behind Saudi Arabia and Japan in their group in the final round of qualifying and then beating the United Arab Emirates in the Asian qualifiers. last week.
“I am very proud of the players,” Arnold said. “Really, no one knows what these boys went through to get here. The whole campaign has been so hard. The way they stuck. The way they stuck… Unbelievable. Twenty World Cup qualifying games, 16 away from home. It was tough, But we did it.”
The dramatic end came after two hours of little work.
Australia ended regulation as the only team that created chances. Agden Hrustek, who scored the winning goal against the United Arab Emirates in the Asian qualifiers, fired his first shot on target after 82 minutes and came close again shortly after.
Substitute Edison Flores of Peru headed it upside down at the start of the second half of extra time, but that was as close to the 12,000 Peruvian fans celebrating in the stadium with a goal and as close as both teams could to breaking the deadlock.
“This is a very difficult moment,” said Peru goalkeeper Pedro Galeese. “I dreamed of seeing our flag again at the World Cup.
“I’m still very proud of this team. Now we have to give them support, some of his teammates are already suffering right now.
“Australia has done its part and deserved it.”
The match drifted toward a penalty shoot-out, with Galese saving Martin Boyle’s opening penalty kick. Australia equalized when it hit the post, Louis Advincula.
With his attention-grabbing dance routine along the goal line, Redmayne saved from Valera, and the Australian national team secured a place in Qatar in November for their sixth World Cup appearance.
“This idea was brought up in the pre-selection that these (penalty shootouts) might happen in such circumstances,” Redmayne said of his controversial selection.
Defending champions Australia will meet France in the opening match of Group D on November 22nd and meet Tunisia and Denmark.
Last place in the World Cup will be occupied at the same stadium on Tuesday when Costa Rica meets New Zealand.
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