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FIFA World Cup playoff: Self-belief will be key for Australia against Peru tomorrow

Mohammad Amin

DOHA: Australia will have to rely on their self-belief when they face South Americans Peru in the FIFA World Cup play-off here at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium tomorrow.

The kick off is at 9pm local time, with the winners qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar later in the year.

Costa Rica face New Zealand in Doha on Tuesday for the final World Cup spot.

Australia finished third in the Asian qualifying groups behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, who went directly into the main draw, and defeated the United Arab Emirates to reach the inter-confederation play-offs.

Last week, the Aussies didn’t look that convincing after they fought off a stiff resistance from the UAE in their 2-1 win at the same venue in the Asian play-off.

Graham Arnold’s side appeared a bit perplexed after the Emiratis equalised soon after the Socceroos found the back of the net.

“I think it’s going to be difficult for Australia,” said former Socceroos star Tim Cahill, who is now a chief sports officer at the iconic Aspire Academy.

“Qualifying will mean everything, but qualification is not a given. Being at the World Cup is ultimately what you play for,” said Cahill, who won 108 caps for Australia and is the country’s all-time leading scored with 50 goals, including their first one at a men’s World Cup in 2006.

Tim Cahill

Australia have qualified for FIFA World Cup since 2006, but the results went from bad to worse. Their last victory came at the 2010 edition while they lost 2-0 to Peru four years ago. 

If form is any indication, then the South Americans stand a chance to advance but pre-match calculations can become awry.

Australia or Peru will join Group D alongside defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia, while Costa Rica or New Zealand will go into Group E alongside Spain, Germany and Japan.

The tournament begins on 21 November, with the final on 18 December.

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