Jubilant Australia looking forward to Qatar return for FIFA World Cup™
It took the drama of a penalty shootout to confirm the 31st team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, as Australia edged Peru in their intercontinental play-off clash on Monday night.
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium – one of eight venues that will host matches in the tournament – was the setting for a contest between the Socceroos, who qualified for Monday’s play-off from the Asian zone, and Los Incas, who finished fifth in South American qualifying. A hundred and twenty minutes of goalless action could not separate the sides, with Australia qualifying for their fifth straight World Cup appearance after a 5-4 shootout win.
The jubilant Socceroos fans celebrated with their heroes after substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne’s decisive spot-kick save from Alex Valera. Redmayne’s heroics are sure to live long in the memory for every Australian. The Sydney FC shot-stopper was only brought on towards the end of extra-time when he replaced captain Mathew Ryan – but his goal-line antics threw off the Peruvians, who missed twice from the spot, despite being backed by raucous support throughout the match.
Redmayne told qatar2022.qa that he was delighted to see so many Australians in the crowd and encouraged green and gold fans to book their tickets for the tournament, which will take place from 21 November to 18 December.
“The main thing for our fans should be to come over and support their own, to support the green and gold. It’s a World Cup, it’s the biggest sporting event in the world,” he said. “Our fans should look to partake in it and have a good run here in Qatar. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?”
Winger Craig Goodwin, who scored one of Australia’s five successful penalties in the shootout, was proud to help his country qualify for the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup™.
“Ever since I was a kid, it’s been a dream to play in a World Cup,” said Goodwin. “You grow up, hoping that these moments come, where you have the chance to do something like this. I’m just honoured to be a part of it and to make history for Australia.”
Over the past three weeks, Australia have had the opportunity to experience the stadiums and training facilities that all 32 qualified teams will use during Qatar 2022. This included the Asian play-off victory against the United Arab Emirates, last night’s win over Peru and a friendly against Jordan at Al Janoub Stadium.
“They are beautiful stadiums, state-of-the-art,” said Redmayne. “You can see that the facilities are world-class, so I’m really looking forward to coming back and experiencing them again later in the year.”
Australia’s World Cup exploits since 2006 have taken them to Europe, Africa and South America. Now, Graham Arnold’s side are ready to savour the unique experience of a tournament in the Middle East and Arab world for the first time. They will also benefit from participating in the most compact version of the World Cup in modern history, with all the stadiums within an hour’s drive of central Doha.
“I think this region is definitely growing in the football world, and over recent years, it’s gaining a lot more respect,” said Goodwin. “Here in Qatar, you can see they’ve got wonderful stadiums and wonderful facilities, so I think everyone is really excited for this year’s World Cup.”
The Socceroos’ play-off success secures their place in Group D at Qatar 2022, with all three of their matches to be played at Al Janoub. They will begin their campaign against defending champions France on 22 November before facing Tunisia on 26 November. Denmark will be their final group opponents on 30 November.