Australia booked their tickets for the World Cup following a narrow win over Peru in the playoff match at Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar.

Australia
Australia reached the World Cup group stage after beating the United Arab Emirates and Peru in the playoffs. (Image: fifa.com)

The two sides could only be separated after a penalty shootout. Australia is the penultimate team to reach the group stage of the World Cup. They will go in Group D, alongside France, Denmark, and Tunisia.

Australia faced the group’s favorites, France and Denmark, at the 2018 final tournament in Russia.

Australia and Peru couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes, with the score tied at 0-0. A penalty shootout decided Australia’s presence at the World Cup. Australia boss Graham Arnold opted to replace starting goalkeeper Maty Ryan in the last minute of extra time, and the decision proved salutary. Reserve goalie Andrew Redmayne saved Alex Valera’s shot to hand Australia a 5-4 win on penalties.

Australia has qualified for every World Cup since 2006. Their first presence at the biggest event in international football was in 1974, with the biggest performance coming in 2006, when they reached the round of 16. Australia finished behind Japan and Saudi Arabia in the qualifiers for Qatar 2022, needing to get past the United Arab Emirates to seal an intercontinental play-off place. Despite creating several chances in normal time, Australia couldn’t make any of them count on the scoreboard.

It was Peru’s Edinson Flores who could have won it for the South Americans in extra time when his header hit the post. Going to the shootout, Martin Boyle missed Australia’s opening penalty, but Luis Advincula canceled Peru’s advantage as he hit the post with his team’s third shot of the series.

It went to sudden death, where Valera was denied by Redmayne. The Australian keeper dived to his right to stop the ball and secure Australia’s flight to Qatar.

The final place at the World Cup will be decided by a playoff between New Zealand and Costa Rica. The match will be played on Tuesday also at the Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar.

Australia are third-favorites in their group

The Australian national team isn’t given much of a chance to progress into the knockout stages at the World Cup. They’re at +330 to qualify from Group D, the same as Tunisia, and behind France at -2500 and Denmark at -300. A bet on Australia winning the group returns +1400. The same choice for France is at -280, while Denmark topping the lot is at +275.

Australia is at -700 to get eliminated in the group phase. Leaving the competition in the round of 16 stands at +500 while exiting in the quarterfinals is at +2000. Fancy the Australians entering the top four, then being knocked out in the semifinals? That’s at +8000. Australia playing the final and losing it is at +25000 while lifting the trophy now at +37500.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup runs from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.

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