BARRIO – Peru’s football fans were left in tears after their team missed out on World Cup 2022 qualification following a 5-4 loss on penalty kicks to Australia.
Substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne saved the final penalty from Alex Valera to send Peru packing, much to the disappointment of the vocal 10,000-strong support in the crowd at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Monday evening. This would mark Peru’s first loss to Australia.
Enzo Veramindi, another Peru supporter, said both teams were more or less equal but wished his side had chosen better penalty takers.
Australia, who are headed to their fifth consecutive World Cup, complete Group D which also features France, Denmark and Tunisia in the tournament that kicks off on November 21.
As kickoff approached on Monday, it was apparent that the stadium, one of the eight venues hosting the upcoming World Cup, will be dominated by Peruvian fans.
One Australian spectator before kickoff described it as a “home game” for the South American nation.
Peruvians from across the globe attended the do-or-die game, coming from places including the United States, Peru’s capital Lima and Qatar’s neighbour, the United Arab Emirates.
In Lima, and other Peruvian cities like Cuzco, thousands of fans had lined up the streets to watch their team compete, a task made easier by the government which had declared a national holiday on Monday.
However, what many were hoping to be a second consecutive World Cup qualification, turned out to be a bitter experience.
Today Costa Rica plays New Zealand to round out the 32 teams in the tournament. Vamos Costa Rica.