Behich ‘lost for words’ as he reflects on World Cup qualification in Socceroos' second home

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Socceroos defender Aziz Behich found it hard to put into words what it meant to qualify for the FIFA World Cup after a long and arduous journey to Qatar 2022. 

Despite a qualification campaign that stretched a whopping 1,008 days with just four of twenty matches played on home soil, the Socceroos managed to qualify for a fifth-consecutive World Cup after beating Peru 5-4 in a penalty shootout. 

A strong team display, a well-executed game plan, along with the heroics of the substitute Goalkeeper, Andrew Redmayne, silenced all the doubters and sealed the Socceroos’ spot at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Qualified Graphic World Cup 2022 Qatar Give It 100

The victory capped off a qualification campaign full of ups and downs. 

After a record-breaking start to qualifying, the Socceroos did it the hard way by finishing third in Group B behind Saudi Arabia and Japan.

It meant they had to win two sudden-death games against UAE and then Peru in the intercontinental play-off. 

Incredibly, they managed to pull it off and seal the final spot in Group D alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia.

Socceroos v Peru | Full Penalty Shootout | FIFA World Cup Playoff

An emotional Behich was lost for words as he reflected on the triumph post-match. 

“Right now, it's difficult to put into words,” Behich told Network 10. 

I’ve lost my voice but it means everything to us. It has been over a thousand days, travel, sacrifices, staff, the board, sacrifices everyone has made, we haven’t had many games at home. 

“We said Qatar is our second home because we haven't lost here. We said that before the game, we have to block out the noise and play our game. 

“I think we deserved it tonight and we deserved to be at that World Cup. I said on interviews during the week, the Aussie spirit, we love being backs against the wall, and this is for everyone back home. All our supporters and everyone that was up, thank you very much.”

He added: “Shout-out to my wife and my family, parents, and sisters - love you all and we're coming back to Qatar.” 

Throughout the qualification campaign, Behich continued to serve as one of the most reliable names on the Socceroos' squad list, despite the emergence of new competition for Australia’s full-back positions. 

While Behich is one of the most experienced players in the Socceroos squad, he said qualifying through another penalty shootout was nerve-racking despite practising penalties all week. 

“Of course, the penalty shootout is stressful with what's at stake,” Behich said. 

“We practised throughout the week and before the UAE game also but I trust our players with what I saw during the week with our penalty takers. 

“In these types of situations, it's all about being confident and that's what our boys showed tonight. I’m lost for words. We're going to another World Cup and I can't wait.”

Watch the Socceroos' celebrate World Cup qualification.