As Australia prepares for their do-or-die intercontinental play-off against Peru, Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine is hoping to use the squad’s past experiences to secure a fifth-straight World Cup appearance.
The Socceroos face Peru in a winner-takes-all inter-continental play-off at Doha's Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday at 4am (AEST).
Australia reached the game with a 2-1 win over UAE, sealed courtesy of goals from Irvine and Ajdin Hrustic.
Despite the visual jubilation of scoring a goal and securing victory, Irvine said celebrations had been kept to a minimum given the job he and his teammates came to Qatar to complete is only half-finished.
Having been a part of the squad that secured a 2018 berth with play-off victories over Syria and then Honduras, Irvine is hoping the Socceroos can build on that success.
“Every experience is unique but we have learnt from those play-off games,” Irvine said.
Being part of the two legged Syria and Honduras play-offs, we learnt a lot and a lot of the lads who are here today were a part of that as well. We need to bring that experience to the players who weren't there .
“Every little bit of the past experiences can help us grow and contribute to what we're going to be doing next week. It’s a very different environment now but hopefully, we will be there to deliver the same outcome.”
The last time the Socceroos played a World Cup play-off against a South American nation was in 2005 against Uruguay to secure qualification for the first time in 32 years.
Irvine was in the stands as a 12-year-old for the historic victory against Uruguay in Sydney and now he is hoping to inspire future generations as he represents the Green and Gold.
“It seems like a lifetime ago but in a different time, that was me getting up to watch games in the morning,” he explained.
Hopefully, the younger generations will be waking up and there will be some future Socceroos who can tell their own story by seeing us qualifying and then come to live it themselves.”
Another major difference between this play-off series and the previous ones is the format. Rather than the home and away epics of the past, they are one-off encounters.
Australia will benefit from the clash against Peru being only one leg - unlike previous campaigns against South American opposition, staged in intimidating venues in Buenos Aires in Argentina or Montevideo in Uruguay.
The Socceroos will also have a small contingent of fans who have travelled to Qatar for the play-offs.
While the Socceroos fans in Doha might be small in number, Irvine said they will help to give the squad an extra push.
“It was a good energy in the stadium the other night,” Irvine said as he reflected on the UAE clash.
“It makes a difference because it’s always sometimes difficult in neutral venues to generate that atmosphere but the few fans who were there definitely gave us a little bit of extra push.”
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Intercontinental Play-off
Australia v Peru
Date: Monday, 13 June 2022
Venue: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kick-off: 9pm local; 4am AEST (Tuesday, 14 June 2022)
Broadcast: Live and free in Australia via Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play