Going to bid you farewell now and thank you profusely for following what turned out to be a thrilling playoff. We will have further stories and analysis throughout the day but for now I will leave you with this:
Here is a brief match report, with the full one to follow.
With this match done and dusted, there remains only one place left to fill in the World Cup draw. That spot belongs to either New Zealand or Costa Rica, who will meet tomorrow in the Concacaf-Oceania playoff. The winner will join Spain, Germany and Japan in Group E. Lucky them.
There will be no national holiday as far as I can tell.
Bruce writes in from the US with a response to Tony’s “emmbarrassing gamesmanship” email a few posts back.
“Embarrassing gamesmanship? I think the objective is to stop penalty kicks,” he says. “There are rules regarding pens and anything that doesn’t violate a rule is perfectly OK. If Redmayne thought that wearing his kit inside out would give him an advantage in goal then so be it. If the wiggle helps him to save four of six attempts, then wiggle on.”
That will matter little to Australia, who can now turn their attention to (yet another) return to Qatar for the World Cup this November. The Socceroos have filled the final sport in Group D and will play France, Tunisia and Denmark, which is uncannily similar to their Russia 2018 group of France, Denmark and – you guessed it – Peru.
The team were under Bert van Marwijk then, after Ange Postecoglou qualified the team before resigning. Graham Arnold had been named the long-term successor and took over after that tournament.
Lots of questions to ask and answer between now and then. Right now the country is just enjoying the moment.
There is a bit of talk about whether Redmayne had come off his line during the shootout, after being warned a couple of times by the referee.
Redmayne himself is speaking now, and says the prospect of him being used for penalties “was floated pre-selection”.
“For the two or three weeks we have been here I have had that in my mind, and I’ve been working on a few things in training,” he says. “But at the end of the day it is either right or left, the homework has been done and I’m just grateful to the other boys for running out 120 minutes.”
Here’s a fun fact about Redmayne: when he was 16 he trialled with Arsenal for a fortnight and nearly signed, only for the club decided to sign a 15-year-old Wojciech Szczesny instead. In 2017 the Gunners played an off-season friendly against Sydney FC in Australia, and he saved a penalty from Danny Welbeck before the Sky Blues ultimately lost 2-0. Arsene Wenger was still in the seat at the time and said: “If he was with us, we made a mistake.”
“As a South American I wanted Peru to qualify,” Pablo writes. “But congratulations to Arnold for the last-minute goalkeeper change and to Redmayne who has just become one of my favourite goalkeepers in the world. Good luck to Australia in Qatar 2022.”
I’m searching for shootage footage that isn’t geoblocked for readers based overseas. For now I’ll have to post this from Australian broadcaster, Channel 10.
Here is an alternative view of the game from Tony.
“Mediocre stuff from both sides, Peru gave it go but came up short,” he writes. “Australia parked the bus. Embarrassing gamesmanship from the clown Redmayne. It worked but sport is the loser. Awful result.”
For Peru, this is a devastating result. Gareca, the Argentine manager, has done so many good things for this national side, repeatedly exceeded expectations by qualifying the country for Russia 2018 – their first finals in 36 years – and coming agonisingly close again to making it successive World Cups for the first time since 1978 and 1982. It was not to be. They were not themselves this match.
Arnold is being interviewed now and he’s speechless for the first few seconds.
“I’m just... So proud of the players, you know? No one knows what those boys have been through to get to here,” he says. “It was so hard, the whole campaign, and the way they’ve stuck at it and committed themselves to it, incredible.
“Andrew Redmayne is a very good penalty saver, and to try to get him on the mental aspect while we were making that change, to add that bit of uncertainty in their brains, that was, yeah, that is the reason.”
He says he called for Australia’s new prime minister Anthony Albanese to give the country a day off. This is from a man who was at risk of being sacked in March, and who has faced dogged criticism.
“The doubters don’t bother me, it is these boys I care for, the game I care for,” he says. “I do it for my family and I want to dedicate this one to my brother, Colin. When my parents died when I was young, I didn’t have anyone really to support. My older brother has been that my whole life, and he is No 1.”
Duke is speaking with Channel 10 and trying to verbalise the final stages of this match.
“Honestly, I have never been involved in this situation before,” he says. “Incredible, credit to everyone involved. So proud of the boys. We have gone the hard way. So many people wrote us off. I’m having a panic attack, speechless, so proud of boys. Redmayne has done unbelievable.
“I’m sure Maty [Ryan] would have been disappointed, but everyone played their part. Can’t explain this feeling, it is just complete ecstasy, and I can’t wait to celebrate with the boys. Thank you for believing in us. We are going to a World Cup, five in a row.”
Mark wrote in during the shootout:
“I’m waiting to see John Cleese doing his ministry of silly walks across the goal line next,” he writes of Redmayne’s wiggle technique. “Funny shit.”
Scenes in Qatar. There are tears on both sides. Arnold is crying as he embraces his assistant Rene Muelensteen. The Peru players are crying, too. Not in the same way. This has shades of Australia v Uruguay 2005. The Socceroos mob Redmayne, whose very position in this squad was questioned but who has single-glovedly qualified his country for a fifth consecutive World Cup. He did not do it alone, and on the balance of play Australia deserved to win this match.
Australia qualify for the World Cup!
Australia 5-4 Peru Redmayne has a drink now to keep Valera waiting. Redmayne saves! And Australia are going to the World Cup!
Australia 5-4 Peru Mabil steps up next, and we are now officially in sudden death. Gallese is protesting about the ball being on the spot, or something like that. Now he’s having a drink of water. Mabil stands and waits. And it did not get inside his head because he buries that no problem.
Australia 4-4 Peru If Redmayne can save this Australia are going to the World Cup. Flores is the man to stop them, if he can. He must score. He does.
Australia 4-3 Peru Maclaren is usually reliable from the spot, and he is again, sending Gallese the wrong way.
Australia 3-3 Peru Tapia will not be stopped. Redmaybe gets a glove to it but couldn’t keep it out.
Australia 3-2 Peru Hrustic wrongfoots the goalkeeper and rolls the ball coolly into the right corner as Gallese dives to the left.
Australia 2-2 Peru Advincula is up next, and Redmayne gets a hand to it, pushing it into the woodwork to bring the scores back level. His back foot, though, was only just on that line.
Australia 2-2 Peru Goodwin, a late introduction off the bench, is waiting to take his kick. He does his quick feet then hits it straight into the roof of the net.
Australia 1-2 Peru The referee is reminding Redmayne to stay behind his line. Callens tucks the ball away into the top corner with ease.
Australia 1-1 Peru Mooy thumps the ball into the back of the net.
Australia 0-1 Peru Lapadula is unfazed by Redmayne’s dancing and sends his spot kick left. Redmayne dives right. Advantage Peru.
Australia o-0 Peru Gallese saves with a drive to his right! Nightmare beginning for Australia.
Boyle is stepping up to take Australia’s first penalty. He picks up the ball and takes it to the spot ...
This is wild. This is a huge call by Arnold to bring on Redmayne. Big show of faith in the man who became known at club level as the Pink Wiggle for his hot pink kit and jumping technique. But Gallese is a veteran. He has the big-game experience. He has saved a Luis Suarez penalty, and he can save what Australia throw at him. So who will take these pens? There is a lot of deliberation between the referees as Peru complain about something. Which end the pens will be taking? Mooy, who has stepped up as captain, is there having a word too.
Penalties! Australia 0-0 Peru
120+3 mins Irvine is cramping now and Boyle has run in to help with the stretching. Goodwin takes the free-kick and Wright is at the back post but it’s easy pickings for Gallese, who himself is in for penalties after extra-time comes to a close.
120+2 mins This is the work of goalkeeper coach John Crawley, who developed both Ryan and Redmayne at club level in Australia and worked wonders with Redmayne at Sydney FC, especially in 2019 when Sydney won the grand final penalty shootout against Perth Glory. Time is ticking down as Flores steals the ball off Irvine but fouls him in the process and concedes a free-kick.
120 mins Behich takes his leave and standing there readying to enter is Craig Goodwin. But what is this! Andrew Redmayne is also waiting on the sidelines and will replace the No 1 and captain Mat Ryan!
118 mins Cueva, as it happens, missed a penalty at the last World Cup, so his leaving is not necessarily a bad thing for Peru.
“Looks like we’re headed for penalties, hope I haven’t jinxed us,” writes Andre. “But we just haven’t been clinical enough to make the most of the chances given to us.”
He emails again: “Well two chances just went their way, I should keep quiet now.”
115 mins Change for Peru, with Alex Valera entering the fray. Cueva is the player who will come off – via a stretcher – but the whole process is taking ... a while.
113 mins The Socceroos scramble as Peru tear away in transition again but Cueva’s pass ends up in the hands of Ryan. Cueva is down being stretched out with cramp now.
112 mins Karacic boinks the ball long into the path of Boyle and, when Peru regain possession, they attempt to do the same only for Cueva to be called offside. The heads of both coaches must be swimming. Which players are tiring? Which to keep on regardless for penalties? Do they bring on any players cold? That’s always an unenviable task.
109 mins Chance for Peru! Cueva is teed up by Flores but skews his shot wide. And an even better chance follows! Peru send a ball into the box. Flores rises high to outmuscle Behich and his header hits the upright. This has shades of Australia’s playoff against Syria in Russia 2018 qualifying. Australia survive, just.
106 mins There are some tired legs out there, none more than those belonging to Mooy, who has played for longer than he has all year. But penalties are not far off. What will Arnold do?
Extra-time half-time! Australia 0-0 Peru
105 mins Flores, meanwhile, has gone into the book for raising his arm on Boyle. Not much contact there really, but what the hey.
104 mins Lapadula and Rowles collide but make up swiftly. Neither side is making headway here, thought possession is changing hands regularly. Irvine makes a play and Mabil is engaging in some trickery now, evading two defenders before being felled by Aquino. Mabil is milking it though. There’s no time like the presence for gamesmanship.
101 mins Chance! Flores forces a save from Ryan, probably the first real save he has had to make all match. And maybe it sparks something in the Socceroos because Karacic blazes forward with energy.
98 mins Peru may as well be on the training ground for 30 seconds as they engage in short, often one-touch passing between themselves. The Socceroos wait for them to make a meaningful move. Advincula does the honours and Karacic makes a crucial touch. Meanwhile, Tapia has been felled but picks himself back up.
96 mins Hrustic finds an opening, though, and races up the field. Australia have numbers in the box, but they are left waiting, and Peru race away in transition.
95 mins Peru are well in the hunt. A long ball is delivered straight into Australia’s box. The defence is ready, but it comes again. This time Trauco bundles into Boyle. Australia with the ball now but there is now way through the red shirts.
92 mins Here we go. This has penalties written all over it but let’s see if one team can break the deadlock before then. For now it remains unresolved. Anything can happen. Fran Karacic comes on for Atkinson. Cueva opens up the midfield but Karacic makes the intervention.
End of regulation time! Australia 0-0 Peru
90+3 mins In the final 60 seconds, Peru keep possession. They knock the ball around a bit with little hurry before finally looping a pass over the top of midfield. After recycling, Flores attempts a shot from outside the box in vain. To extra-time we go!
90+2 mins There are three minutes of stoppage-time, which not a whole lot considering Cueva was down receiving medical attention for a good two minutes. Nonetheless, on we go. The Socceroos cross into the box and was that a push by Zambrano on Irvine? Apparently not. The referee consults with the VAR and play continutes.
90 mins Chance! Another chance goes begging as Hrustic takes a shot but doesn’t hit it cleanly enough to outdo Gallese. This is getting frustrating for Australia. They are creating chances but are simply not clinical enough.
87 mins Gareca is mighty unhappy, having words with his staff as Arnold brings on Jamie Maclaren for Leckie. Fresh legs and a potential goal spark. He knows how to get in the right positions, does Maclaren.
85 mins The cohesion displayed by the Socceroos has gone missing a bit as the contest edges towards extra-time. Just as I’ve written that Mabil, from the left, fires the ball with verve towards the near post. That was close. Now Behich is bearing down on goal. Gonzales sticks out a boot but the ball evades it. It also evades the net, flying just wide of the post.
82 mins Trauco floats a ball over the top of Behich but Australia are alert to it. And now Trauco has fouled Boyle and Australia have a free-kick. Will this be the opening? We won’t find out until Peru’s second substitution has been made, as Peña takes his leave for Pedro Aquino. Hrustic, the hero against the UAE, takes his set piece. Not this time.
78 mins Mooy squeezes a long pass down the right-hand side but it runs away from Boyle and out of play. Arnold has made his first change, bringing on Awer Mabil for Duke.
76 mins This is all very for Australia, who have built excellent foundations to win this match, but they will have to fashion a meaningful opening at some point. At this stage one has not materialised, and the long the match wears on the more threatening Peru will become. The Peruvian supporters, with their drums and horns, cheer as the flag goes up against Leckie.
73 mins Australia are inviting Peru into their defensive third, which we know from recent history that that is only a couple of steps from conceding. Tapia appears to have tweaked something during his infringement on Hrustic but will live to see another day. Peru bear down on goal yet again and Advincula is everywhere all. at once – until he runs himself into a corner and loses his touch.
69 mins Atkinson has the ball at feet in defence and opts to go long and diagonal. Peru spring forward, as they are doing more regularly now, and Cueva’s twinkle toes bring the ball down before he lashes at the side netting. Will Arnold make his own change soon?
66 mins The Socceroos appeal for a penalty on the grounds that a Boyle cross was blocked by the arm of a defender. The referee doesn’t think so and nothing from VAR. Meanwhile, the first substitution is under way as Carrillo makes way for Edison Flores.
63 mins There are 30 minutes remaining to score. Peru are still somewhat disjointed, which means one of two things: they get it together and score, or Australia capitalise and do it themselves. Sounds rather simple when you put it like that. Things are getting more tense, as Leckie gives Advincula a push and the latter retaliates in a mini-altercation.
60 mins Mooy is at the corner flag. Australia do like a set piece. Not this one though – Gallese gets the crucial touch. Peru mark time, passing along the back line, then back to Gallese, before opting to attack down the left. A couple of balls into Australia’s area are sent straight back out but they continue to come, switching to the right as Advincula lurks.
57 mins Instructions come from Arnold as Peru take a throw-in and dash through the middle diagonally to the left. A speculative shot is dealt with by Irvine, but in doing so the midfielder’s boot on Tapia. Peru appeal for a yellow. It does not arrive. But they are back in dangerous areas again as Peña crosses and Gonzales is one on one with Ryan, clattering into the goalkeeper as he gathers in the nick of time.
53 mins Arnold is up this time, pacing. Can’t imagine how nervous he must be. If Australia lose this is the end of his tenure, and the team will have missed out on the World Cup for the first time since 2002. Not pretty reading. Let’s not go there yet though because Mooy has just let rip a pile-driver that is wide of the far post but not by a mile.
51 mins Mooy has a look-in now as he swoops on Peru’s box. He is stopped before he really gets started but has the right idea. Another swift turnover and Peru has a corner, which is thwarted by Irvine. Peru come again and this time Rowles is the man standing in the way. Peña is gesticulating towards his teammates.
Second half! Australia 0-0 Peru
48 mins No changes as yet! As few as 45 minutes stand between one of these sides and the 2022 World Cup. The winner will take the penultimate spot in the finals, with New Zealand still to play Costa Rica tomorrow. Australia have the early possession, passing around at the back before hoicking the ball long. Peru are quick on the uptake and straight into transition, working it back to Australia’s penalty area in the blink of an eye.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall in both dressing rooms (two flies?). Can imagine Gareca would be relieved the score is still nil-nil given how passive Peru were during the first half. Lapadula fashioned their only chance against a Socceroos side which were the better. Their defence has been diligent, now just to find the clinical touch. Will Garca make changes to find some spark?
What do we make of that? All in all, a bright start for the Socceroos, who have had more sights on goal than Peru with five shots to two. Duke had a couple of them, but shot wide twice. In all, Australia look ... capable.
Half-time! Australia 0-0 Peru
45+1 mins Advincula absolutely tears down the right with Leckie in chase, and Australia find their goal under a quick, nerve-wracking bit of pressure. But all is square after the first stanza.
44 mins Hrustic takes a free-kick from quite far out. The direction is good but Zambrano has a head on it to clear the danger. Boyle crosses again, Carrillo deals with it. Boyle is relentless, and yet we aren’t seeing the best out of him so far this match. Same for Irvine, who has been one of the standouts of this campaign but relatively quiet today.
41 mins Cueva caresses the ball at the touchline, sweeps it back in at the last moment as Boyle applies the pressure. Irvine, who has ghosted into the box and is free for the header, inexplicably diverts it wide of the back post. That could easily have been a goal. Gallese takes his time with another goal kick.
38 mins Peru are taking an age to restart play from goal kicks. Gallese has the ball at his feet again and is literally just standing there. True to predictions they would try to slow down the game, suck out the tempo.
36 mins Gareca must have been expecting more from Peru by now because he hops up from his seat and barks some directions, hands on hips. Frustration. About 10 minutes until the end of this half and the stalemate continues, with only half-chances for each side.
33 mins Rauco opts for the direct route this time and punts the ball long. Behich has it in hand but Australia will have to watch their movement off the ball. They are still attacking, though, and Boyle is on yet another dribbling run to the top of the box, where he is sandwiched between two opponents. One of them, Gonzales has lunged in. That is brutal. He wins the ball but VAR have a check. Play on.
30 mins Cueva is inching forward through the middle, checking his options. He passes out to the right. It is dealt with. Australia are holding their own thus far, though there is a sense that one small slip-up will offer Peru the opening they need. The latter are moving the ball around smoothly, as if they are waiting for their moment.
26 mins Duke is fortunate to avoid a yellow card as he crashes in late on Peña. Peru get the free-kick.
22 mins Boyle is dribbling beats two defenders and makes a clean cross. There is no one waiting in front of goal. For Peru, Advincula is putting on a show on the right flank. He is awfully fun to watch.
19 mins Mooy sashays through the midfield and releases Boyle at the top of the area but his shot ricochets straight off a defender. Duke has obviously been included for his physicality and ability to hold up the ball. The Socceroos have been playing direct while Peru play out from the back.
16 mins Interesting that Arnold has retained Atkinson at right-back after his baptism of fire against the UAE. Peru are pressing hard, trying to keep their opposition contained. Ryan makes an uncharacteristic error. Down the other end, Leckie whips in a corner but Leckie’s contact isn’t enough. We are 15 minutes in and the Socceroos have had a few look-ins on goal but nothing that registers.
13 mins Early yellow card for Atkinson for holding back Cueva. They have a free-kick. Trauco does the honours and it’s nice, but Gonzales’s first touch is heavy. Lucky for Australia.
Btw, this got me too.
10 mins Trauco beats his man and embarks on a lovely one-two with Gonzales inside Australia’s third but the latter defend well. A few turnovers of possession here as both teams try to find their rhythm. A couple of heavy challenges already and here Trauco is a touch late on Boyle.
7 mins Ryan is already bellowing at his teammates from in goal, raising his finger to his temple in a “use your heads” manner. Mooy has the ball, he passes to Leckie, who backheels it first time and Australia make inroads down the left. No final ball, though.
5 mins Duke is outside the box with his eyes in the air and on a long ball over the top which is hurtling towards him. He attempts a speculative shot which sails wide. Peru are in transition now, all the way down to Australia’s goal third and Lapadula beats Rowles and whips in a cross which comes to nothing in the end.
2 mins Here we go. Atkinson takes an early throw-in and the ball ends up at Gallese’s feet. He punts it back to halfway mark and gathers again when Australia work it back towards Peru’s goal.
Lots of fans in the stadium. Tell you what, though, Peru have the numbers and the team will be buoyed by this. The players are coming out of the tunnel now for the anthems, and this is only the second time they will play each other, after Australia lost to Gareca’s side in the group stage of Russia 2018. Carrillo was one of the scorers in that game.
The location of this match is interesting because Australia have played a lot of their qualifying games in Qatar and are very used to the conditions. They have been based there for the past two weeks – the longest time they have spent in camp together for the good part of four years.
This is not the case for Peru, and assistant coach Nobby Solano has had a crack at Fifa over the decision.
“The game is kicking off at nine o’clock and they’re saying that the stadium is air-conditioned, so it will be fresh when we play,” he said. “But we’ve been training in Spain until this weekend because it’s just too hot to train in Qatar during the day.
“We’re being asked to play in the same conditions that it was decided that the World Cup wouldn’t be possible to be played in. For a game of this size, with so much at stake, I’m not sure that’s really good for either us or Australia. Although it’s obviously the same for both teams.”
Lots of people up in Melbourne!
Kick-off is not too far away now. For those who are awake (very) early in Australia, here’s David Squires. Everyone needs a bit of Squires at 4am.
For Australia the story is different. Where Peru endured a torrid start to qualifying before coming good towards the end, the Socceroos started well and came undone during the third stage with a number of poor results which have put the team – and particularly Arnold – under pressure.
Here’s a bit more background on the Peru team under Ricardo Gareca, known as ‘The Tiger’. Garca has transformed the national team since taking over in 2015, qualifying them for their first World Cup in 36 years at Russia 2018 and can now do it again.
I had a message from a Peruvian supporter over the weekend, which highlights just how big this game is for Peruvian football.
“The difference is that Perú has a whole country (33m people) behind supporting our team for this match,” he wrote. “The meaning of soccer to us is very different than for Australians and that will reflect on Monday. Keep in mind that for us to be here, we had to face Brasil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, etc. Some of those were not able to make it. Imagine what that means.”
Kye Rowles, who just this week signed with Hearts, keeps his spot in central defence ahead of Trent Sainsbury, who was dealing with a knee injury. And Mitchell Duke gets the nod, with Mat Leckie moving to the wing in place of Craig Goodwin.
In Peru’s XI is 90-game goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, a legend in Peru and a veteran of the 2018 campaign. Christian Cueva is the most skilled with the ball and André Carrillo ia world-class right winger. Also watch out for Gianluca Lapadula, an attacker who was born in Italy to a Peruvian mother, has starred for Peru since 2020.
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca, meanwhile, has said the one-off format of the tie will make for a much different contest to what both Peru and Australia faced while qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. If you haven’t been following this time around, the home-and-away-leg format is no more and has been replaced by one knockout match in neutral territory.
“This is a key match and the fact that we’ve already played inter-continental playoff, I don’t think it’s that important,” Gareca said. “Every game is different and what we want to do is to keep on growing, we’ve known each other for seven years in our national team.
“We have experienced very tough situations, we cope with them, we know that’s the way forward is a tough one but this is what we want to do. We’re all ready for this, we’re all ready for this type of match.
“From that point of view, apart from the fact that we have a broad experience, so does Australia. We are both in the same situation and we hope to make the most of this opportunity.”
There has been some tough pre-match talk from Socceroos boss Graham Arnold, warning Australian footballers have made technical improvements.
“You’ve got to be ready for anything that Peru, individually, throw at us,” Arnold said. “I just really believe in our players. It’s a one-off game and it’s a final. That’s crystal clear to everybody. That is fine. I think the Peruvians will be surprised by the improvement of the Australian footballers technically.”
He also said the South American style is “an attractive style of game, they’re very technically individually very good”.
This is going to get technical.
Well, this is it. The match to end them all. The sudden-death, intercontinental playoff. It is, as one journalist put it during the pre-match press conferences, “the final”. More specifically, it is the final before the finals, with the latter on the line. The winner takes all and books a ticket (back) to Qatar for the World Cup in November. For Australia, that would constitute a fifth consecutive World Cup.
Who will win? Peru are heavy favourites. If we look at Fifa rankings, which are not always the most accurate indicator, Australia are ranked 42nd and their South American counterparts 22nd. If we focus instead on results, Peru beat Venezuela and Colombia en route to finishing in fifth place in Conmebol behind Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador. Australia, meanwhile, placed third in their group and last week defeated the United Arab Emirates in their first Asia playoff. There is more to say on all of this, so let’s get going.
Kick-off in Qatar is at 9pm local and 4am AEST.