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Redmayne emerges hero as Australia beat Peru in penalties to qualify

Mohammad Amin

DOHA: Substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne emerged as the unlikely for Australia at Al Rayyan’s Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium on a stuffy night to guide his country into their fifth successive FIFA World Cup finals appearance as Socceroos beat Peru 5-4 in the tie-breaker.

The bearded Redmayne, fondly called as The Grey Wiggle by his team-mates and fans, saved two shots against the fifth-ranked South American side in the shootouts after coach Graham Arnold paid a gamble by sending him in.

With the match locked goalless even after the mandatory extra-time, the dreaded spot-kicks became inevitable to pick the fourth team for Group D which has defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia.

The 33-year-old keeper succeeded in dramatic style when he dived to his right to save Alex Valera’s spot-kick to send the Socceroos to Qatar 2022. Luis Advincula had earlier missed the shot to complicate things for the South Americans who had a good start in the game.

Arnold later said that it was a tough campaign for his team as out 20 qualification matches, 16 were played away from home and mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Australia’s best performance at a World Cup was a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in the Round of 16 against Italy in 2006. Then, the Aussies boasted of a star-studded side. But this time, they would need a fair bit of luck in Qatar 2022 to match that exceptional performance.

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