After overcoming Peru on penalties in an intercontinental play-off in Qatar, Australia became the 31st team to secure their spot in the 2022 World Cup.
The decisive save came from goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, who had replaced Mat Ryan just before the shootout for his third international cap. Redmayne was able to stop Alex Valera’s final attempt to score.
After qualifying for the tournament each time since 2006, Australia will be competing in their fifth consecutive World Cup.
They will be competing in the tournament alongside the current tournament holders, France, as well as Denmark and Tunisia.
The World Cup’s champion will be determined on Tuesday, when Costa Rica takes on New Zealand at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in the same city where the tournament is being held.
“A risk but it worked,” said Arnold of his decision to sub in Redmayne. The substitution made by Australia’s head coach Graham Arnold to replace captain Ryan with Redmayne, whose only previous experience in a competitive international was against Nepal, was unexpected but ultimately successful.
The 33-year-old goalkeeper for Sydney FC danced on the line for each of the Peruvian kicks in an effort to throw them off their game. Luis Advincula had a shot blocked before Valera’s final penalty kick was saved.
Arnold explained his actions by saying, “He’s a very excellent penalty saver, and I did something that could hurt them mentally.”
They were presumably thinking to themselves, “Why is this man being brought on, he had to be good,” which is a reasonable assumption.
“Perhaps it was the reason why they were able to hit the post. It only requires a one percent mental effort to cause problems for the penalty takers for Peru. It was a gamble, but in the end it paid out.
Redmayne, who as a young player tried out for a position at Arsenal, was playing in just his third international match for the Socceroos.
According to Redmayne, “this concept was floated pre-selection that this might eventuate in these type of conditions,” and “for the two or three weeks we’ve been here [in Qatar], I’ve kind of had that in my head.” [Citation needed]
“I’ve been working on a few things in training, but at the end of the day it comes down to a toss of the coin, it’s either right or left.
“I’m no hero; all I did today was perform my role as everyone else did,” he said.
The match itself in Al Rayyan was hardly a masterpiece, since there were no noteworthy opportunities for either team in the first eighty minutes of play.
In the final ten minutes, Australia had three fantastic chances, but Ajdin Hrustic was able to save them all with two saves, while Aziz Behich’s attempt just missed the target.
Edison Flores took Peru’s lone attempt at scoring, but his long-range attempt in extra time was directly at Ryan.
His header, which was the finest chance of the game, hit the post, bringing him even closer to scoring.
The temperature inside the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, where the game was played, was over 30 degrees Celsius. During the buildup to the game, Peru’s assistant head coach Nolberto Solano had some worries about the fact that the World Cup itself was shifted to November in order to escape the oppressive heat, yet some of the play-offs have already been played.
To get to this game, his team had competed in South American qualifying and finished fifth overall. They had high hopes of making it to the World Cup for a second year in a row.
The match between Australia and Peru will take place after the Australians finished third in their Asian qualification group and won 2-1 against the United Arab Emirates in Qatar on the previous Tuesday.