Australia, Peru in Intercontinental Battle for Qatar 2022 Ticket

Duro Ikhazuagbe in Doha

Australia, Peru, New Zealand and Costa Rica are the four countries battling for the last two slots to complete the 32-team line up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup slated to hold between November 18 and December 22 this year in Qatar.

Today here at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium at Al Rayyan, one of the venues for the finals in November and December, Australia will take on Peru in the Intercontinental Playoff for one of the tickets at stake.

Last Tuesday, the Socceroos  snatched the ticket to this single qualifying match from United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a nail-biting 2-1 victory. 

UAE defender, Ali Salmeen, deflected Ajdin Hrustic’s volley past goalkeeper Khaled Eisa with six minutes remaining at Al Rayyan’s Ahmad bin Ali Stadium to keep alive Australia’s hopes of qualifying for a fifth consecutive World Cup finals.

After the victory, Aussie Coach, Graham Arnold, noted : “That is what I have been driving to the boys about the Aussie DNA,” began Arnold. “And that is fight, scratch and do whatever you have got to do to win the game. However we win it, who cares? Just win it.”

Peru on the other hand earned their spot in today’s winner takes all clash finishing fifth in South America’s super group. Peru finished above both Colombia and Chile in the South American qualifiers, continuing to exceed expectations under their Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca, who was the architect of their appearance in Russia four years ago.

He was here in Doha last week to watch Australia win and afterwards told reporters: “It was an intense game. But we already know that about Australia and we’ll prepare to give everything.”

Marcos Lopez and Yoshimar Yotun are injury concerns for Peru while Australia are waiting on late fitness tests for forward Adam Taggart and defender Trent Sainsbury.

Peru on Saturday declared Monday a public holiday in anticipation of large numbers glued to what will be a lunchtime television broadcast of the playoff.

Australia qualified for the 2018 finals by beating Honduras over two legs while Peru edged New Zealand for their place in Russia.

On Tuesday, New Zealand and Costa Rica will meet in another inter-continental playoff in Doha to complete the lineup for the 2022 World Cup.

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