Following a scoreless draw after extra time in an intercontinental playoff match on Monday, Australia defeated Peru 5-4 in a shootout to clinch a spot in this year’s World Cup, which will be held in Qatar. Australia’s dancing substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne made the save that allowed them to qualify for the tournament.
Redmayne performed a dance over the goal line before diving to his right to save a penalty kick from Alex Valera and gave Australia a well-deserved win at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Redmayne had been substituted in with three minutes remaining in the game for the shootout, and he had became an immediate hero with his antics on the field as he attempted to distract the kickers from the other team.
He moved his body in a manner reminiscent to the clowning antics that Liverpool’s Bruce Grobbelaar displayed when the team won the European Cup in 1984. He danced up and down, wiggled his hips, and threw his arms around in this manner.
It was sufficient for Luis Advincila to fire his attempt against the put up, and then for Valera to have his effort saved, as Australia qualified for a fifth consecutive World Cup, and for a sixth total, in total.
They will compete in World Cup Group D against the tournament’s current holders, France, as well as Denmark and Tunisia. The championship rounds take place between the dates of November 21 and December 18.
“I am just so pleased of the guys,” said Australia’s head coach Graham Arnold. The tenacity with which they pursued their goal and the dedication with which they approached it was outstanding.
Although Australia’s Martin Boyle had missed their first penalty, they were able to convert the following 5 to quiet the hundreds of Peruvian supporters who had travelled for the game and given loud support but saw their team conjure up few opportunities.
Instead, a workmanlike Australia controlled the early exchanges, and winger Boyle twice sliced through the Peruvian defence to provide enticing crosses. This allowed Australia to dominate the early goings of the match.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first half, with little attempts being made on goal until the eightieth minute, when Australia suddenly had three solid opportunities to win the match.
Ajdin Hrustic’s tame free kick was saved by Peru captain Pedro Gallese, and then five minutes later, Aziz Behich broke through two tackles and immediately found himself in front of goal, but he narrowly missed as he tried to curl his shot into the net. Pedro Gallese saved Ajdin Hrustic’s shot with a save that was just enough.
The replacement player for Australia, Awer Mabil, made a run down the left side of the field and slipped the ball in the direction of Hrustic. However, Hrustic’s effort did not have enough force behind it, and Gallese made another save.
In the ninth minute of extra time, Edison Flores had a dangerous attempt at Australia’s Mathew Ryan, who made a diving save to keep the game alive.
The South Americans found an additional gear in the closing stages of the game, but they were still unable to settle the outcome after two hours of play. Flores then headed against the put up as the South Americans discovered an additional gear in the closing stages.
According to the comments of Peru’s head coach Ricardo Gareca, “We had the expectation to make it, we were near, but regrettably that was not the case.”
“Our hearts are breaking in waves. We gave our all. They depleted their reserves, and now we can’t help but feel duped since we didn’t advance in the World Cup. We were hoping to avoid having to participate in the penalty shootout.”
The 31st and last spot in this year’s World Cup was decided by a single game playoff between the teams who finished fifth in their respective qualifying tournaments in Asia and South America.
The match between Costa Rica and New Zealand in their intercontinental playoff will take place on Tuesday at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, and the winner of that match will earn the lone remaining berth in the finals.