Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is rolling the dice with a selection shake-up that has seen a star dumped to the bench.
Australia are one victory away from booking their spot in a fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup, with the Socceroos needing to topple Peru on Tuesday morning AEST to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
The Socceroos are heavy underdogs leading into the must-win contest in Doha at the same Al Rayyan Stadium venue where the Socceroos defeated the UAE to move through to the final Play-off clash with Peru.
The Socceroos announced a selection shake-up less than an hour before kick-off — and manager Graham Arnold is gambling his job with the decision.
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Graham Arnold makes big change to face Peru
Craig Goodwin has been dumped to the bench for Australia’s play-off with Peru with Mitch Duke coming into the side to play up front.
The selection gamble has seen Matthew Leckie shift to the left wing.
Socceroos great Mark Milligan said before kick-off he was concerned about the ability of Australia’s back four to deal with any speed Peru can exploit out wide.
Arnold said before kick-off: “I feel excitement and relaxed. It’s been since 2005 when we played a South American team in the final qualifier.
“I’m just excited to see the boys playing and I’m here to help the boys.”
‘Insane’ scenes before World Cup Play-off
With over 12,000 Peruvian fans expected to be in attendance in Doha, the crowd will be heavily against the Aussies.
“We’ve got to get in their faces,” Socceroos coach Graham Arnold told SEN radio on the weekend.
“We’ve got to make a fight of this, a war of this, and make sure that when we go out on the pitch that we rattle them. When we do that, that’s our best chance.”
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet posted a video to Twitter: “Effort, aggression commitment and desire are always qualities that our national football team have. Our Socceroos have plenty of confidence in their experience, and on behalf of New South Wales we wish you the best of luck as you aim for the World Cup.”
After missing out on automatic qualification, the Socceroos eliminated the United Arab Emirates in the Asian qualifying playoff last week to give themselves one final opportunity.
Socceroos in World Cup playoffs
1965 – lost to North Korea
1969 – lost to Israel
1973 – beat South Korea
1985 – lost to Scotland
1993 – lost to Argentina
1997 – lost to Iran
2001 – lost to Uruguay
2005 – beat Uruguay
2017 – beat Honduras
How to watch Socceroos vs Peru?
Network Ten is screening the game live on free to air from 4am. The coverage begins from 3.30am.
You can also stream the action live on 10 Play and Paramount Plus.
Where is the game being played?
The game is taking place in Doha — at the same Al Rayyan Stadium venue where the Socceroos defeated the UAE to move through to the final Playoff clash with Peru.
The stadium seats 50,000 and has been redeveloped as one of the eight venues for this year’s World Cup.
How the Socceroos can beat favourites Peru
The Socceroos have reached the final stage of qualifying thanks to a wonder strike by Ajdin Hrustic with ten minutes left to play against the UAE.
The equation couldn’t be any more straightforward for the Socceroos – beat Peru, whether it’s in normal time, extra-time or in a penalty shootout, and they will qualify for November 21-December 18 World Cup in Qatar.
Should the Australians lose, their bid for a fifth successive World Cup finals tournament appearance will be over.
Usually, such playoffs would be played over two legs on a home and away basis.
However, the rushed nature of the World Cup qualifiers – again due to Covid-19-caused problems – means this time it’s a one-off match at a neutral venue.
And that’s a scenario that suits the “Aussie DNA”, according to Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.
Originally published as Australia vs Peru live: Socceroos make huge selection gamble