Australia sealed its place at the 2022 World Cup after winning the intercontinental playoff against Peru on Monday evening in a thrilling match.
In a nail-biting finish at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Qatar, Australia won 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out, edging out crowd favourites Peru.
More than 10,000 Peruvian fans were in attendance at the stadium, some having flown halfway across the world for the game that the Peru coach had described as “the match of our lives”.
Peruvian fans were singing and dancing during the match which went on for 120 minutes and 10 penalty kicks. A small portion of the crowd stayed back well after the game to show their appreciation for the players despite the loss.
Yolanda Hurtado, 50, works in a hospital in Peru’s capital Lima and is a die-hard football enthusiast.
She had gone to Russia for the World Cup four years ago where Peru had trounced Australia.
In Doha on Monday, she cheered on her team throughout but broke down in tears at the end.
“I have saved money for this year’s World Cup, so I will come back to Qatar later this year,” Hurtado told Al Jazeera after the match.
“It is very sad that our team lost. The World Cup won’t be the same but I will come to Doha in November.”