Proving their doubters wrong, Socceroos veteran Mathew Leckie says World Cup qualification shows how underestimated Australian football is.


  • Australia needed to beat Peru in the inter-continental play-off to qualify for the World Cup.
  • The match went down to sudden-death penalties, after 120 minutes of goalless play.
  • Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne's save secured the win for the Socceroos.

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The Socceroos qualified for a fifth-straight World Cup with a dramatic penalty-shootout triumph over Peru in Tuesday's (Wed AEST) intercontinental play-off in Qatar.

It means Leckie is now poised to play at a third World Cup having been a part of Australia's 2014 and 2018 campaigns.

The 31-year-old said reaching the tournament was doubly satisfying given many had written the team off after they failed to earn automatic qualification in March and were forced into the play-offs.

"There's always critics and unfortunately, in my opinion, in Australia there's more critics than there are people for us," Leckie told the Australian Associated Press.

"We don't care. It's just proving everyone wrong and we knew we could do that.

"Peru versus Australia, the majority of people will say Peru's going to win but we knew that, our team versus their team, fitness-wise, physically and mentally, the will to fight - we're going to be the better team."

Australia's path to Qatar was a torturous one, with the global COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on a campaign that began in late 2019.

It also had a direct impact on Leckie's ability to participate with the Melbourne City winger opting to sit out camps in September and October last year due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

Leckie was unwilling to spend weeks in isolation away from his family, particularly having just returned from Europe after a decade playing in Germany.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster for everyone," Leckie said.

"Everyone's just been on point in this camp since we got here and we really went back to basics on giving everything and that fighting mentality.

"That showed (on Tuesday) and then also the composure to get through a penalty shootout.

"My national team career, I've been very fortunate to have a long one and it's the best moments of my career.

"I've always loved the national team more than any club football and it'll always be the case."


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