After 120 minutes of turgid football couldn't create a single goal for either Australia or Uzbekistan, the match went to penalties...and the Socceroos keeper stood tall.

Twice he showed wrists of steel to turn away goalbound penalties from the Uzbeks to first keep Australia in the shootout after Aziz Behich missed his shot, and then to put us in pole position to win it.

After his second amazing save, Mat Leckie stepped up to the spot to apply the finishing touch and send Australia through to a quarter final clash against either the UAE or Kyrgyzstan at 3amΒ on Australia Day.

"As a little boy in the crowd that night, Schwarzer had his heroics," said Ryan after the game, recalling the 2005 qualifier against Uruguay that sent Australia to their first World Cup in 32 years.

"This is definitely up there with that. Never in my wildest dreams when I was that young boy back then did I think I'd be out here representing Australia.

"Now I've got 50 caps to my name – but until tonight I had never saved a penalty for the national team and that was something that was bugging me.

"But to get two in that moment – I'm really happy, and for a goalkeeper, that's the pinnacle."

The Brighton keeper – who debuted for Central Coast Mariners as an 18 year old – revealed he'd done his homework on the Uzbeks prior to the shootout.

"In this day and age, you're obviously trying to have a look before the game to see if you can gain any advantage," he said.

"But to be honest that cancels itself out, because it'd be pretty naive if the opposition doesn't know that we're obviously looking at that sort of thing!"

He added: "Their penalty-takers mixed it up and put it to either side.

"You just have to have a bit of luck at the end of the day. Thankfully twice tonight it paid off."