History beckons as six Asian teams qualify for World Cup Qatar 2022

History beckons as record six Asian teams qualify for World Cup Qatar 2022
History beckons as record six Asian teams qualify for World Cup Qatar 2022

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Australia for becoming the record sixth AFC side to secure their place at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after the Socceroos successfully navigated past Peru 5-4 on penalties as both sides played to a goalless draw after 120 minutes in a riveting FIFA World Cup Intercontinental Playoff on Monday.

AFC President Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Australia for qualifying to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

“At the same time, we should also take a moment to reflect and acknowledge the incredible commitment of all our final 12 Participating Member Associations who had to endure great challenges over the last two-and-a-half years.”

Turning his attention to the global showpiece, which runs from November 21 to December 18, the AFC President added: “The AFC has reiterated that this is indeed Asia’s time and there is no better way to underline this celebration than with the qualification of a record six teams at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in our history.

“The AFC’s Vision and Mission, which coincidentally was launched in Qatar in 2016, outlined our ambitions of ensuring Asian football succeeds on the world’s biggest stages, and now we return to Doha with immense anticipation and great hopes of showcasing the Continent’s undeniable progress.

“I wish all our qualified teams – host nation Qatar, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia along with Australia – the very best of success in their preparations to make Asia proud.

“And of course, our best wishes to Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the Qatar Football Association, and the Qatari Authorities in staging the best-ever FIFA World Cup.”

Australia commenced their qualification campaign with a series of successive victories over Kuwait, Jordan, Nepal and Chinese Taipei in the second round, winning each match by three goals or more with the exception of the two ties against Jordan.

Graham Arnold’s men were subsequently drawn in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Final Round, where they registered impressive triumphs over China PR, Vietnam and Oman to finish third behind heavyweights Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Their commendable finish earned them a date with the United Arab Emirates in last week’s Asian playoff where Ajdin Hrustic snatched a hard-earned winner in a thrilling 2-1 contest to confirm Monday’s encounter against Peru.

On Monday, goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne’s heroics saw Australia defeat Peru 5-4 on penalties at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium to confirm a fifth consecutive appearance on the world stage and a record six Asian team at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in history, where they will compete in Group D alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia.

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