Peru is the last stop left for Australia on its long road to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar after the Socceroos defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2-1 in Qatar in the early hours of Wednesday (8 June).
Ajdin Hrustic secured victory for the Socceroos in the 84th minute with a deflected shot on goal after the sides were deadlocked at 1-1 for much of the second half.
Jackson Irvine opened the scoring in the 53rd minute after he steered an accurate pass from Martin Boyle into the UAE goal.
Their opponents did not take long to respond. Four minutes later, Caio Canedo put his side back in contention.
Speaking to the media after the match, Irvine said that while he was happy with the result, the job was not yet done.
“Obviously it’s a great feeling. But you have that moment of elation when the final whistle goes, and then straight away you are focused. It’s a great result which means we can go into the week full of confidence,” Irvine told The Guardian.
“The job is only half done and we will have a tough preparation week again. Recover, get ready to go again. We have a great squad with a good energy about us, and I’m excited.”
National coach Graham Arnold said that the team stayed compact during the game knowing that the UAE would sit back and they were given little space during the game.
Arnold said the team had played a good defensive game. He said the aim was to get a win and not be concerned about how that should be achieved.
“That is what I have been driving to the boys, about the Aussie DNA, 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,” Arnold said.
Australia have a date with Peru at 4am (AEST) on Tuesday, 14 June. The Peruvians finished fifth in South American qualifying and the winner of this knock out match joins Group D at the World Cup finals in November – a group that includes World Cup holders France, Denmark and Tunisia.