Australia has reached the finals of a football World Cup for the sixth time. The team led by the two German legionnaires Ajdin Hrustic from Eintracht Frankfurt and Jackson Irvine from FC St. Pauli beat South America fifth-placed Peru 5-4 on penalties on Monday evening at the World Cup stadium in Ar-Rayyan after they had lost normal playing time and overtime had stood 0-0. Substitute keeper Andrew Redmayne, who came on for captain Mathew Ryan in the 120th minute, became a hero – he saved two penalties with his unusual fidgeting tactics.
The Socceroos thus secured the penultimate spot for the World Cup in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 in the intercontinental playoff match. Australia will play in Group D with holders France, Denmark and Tunisia. Peru missed out on their sixth appearance at the World Cup despite passionate cheering from the fans who had traveled to the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium to create a good mood for the World Cup.
The 32nd and last place will be awarded this Tuesday when New Zealand and Costa Rica meet also at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Ar-Rayyan. The winner of this game goes into Group E with Germany, Spain and Japan.
In the first of two intercontinental playoffs in one of the World Cup stadiums, chances were scarce at first. Two attempts by Irvine to head the ball were also only attempts in the first half. Australia qualified for the decider on Tuesday last week and only came under pressure against Peru in the second half. Christian Cueva only hit the side netting after more than an hour before the Australians narrowly missed the lead through Aziz Behich and Hrustic just before the end of regular time. It went into overtime. And that too ended goalless, Peru’s Edison Flores hitting the post with the greatest chance.
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