Andrew Redmayne hero as Socceroos reach World Cup with shootout win over Peru

Australian football has a new entry into its folklore and with Socceroos goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne a new icon.

After 120 minutes, Graham Arnold’s side couldn’t part and PeruQualifying for the World Cup in Qatar came down to one moment in the melting pot of a penalty shootout: Redmayne on the goal line and Alex Valera on the spot. All Australia needed was for the Universitario attacker to go anywhere except behind the net. Redmayne made sure that wasn’t the case.

The images of his expression in the aftermath, open-mouthed in one of the widest grins you’ll see on a football field as his teammates sprinted from the center line to join him in the celebrations, may prove even more famous than the rescue itself. . Just as John Aloisi lost his shirt as he drove off to celebrate, played over and over over the years, Redmayne’s smile will live on.

Australian football has its own Tim Krul moment. Just as Louis van Gaal did at the 2014 World Cup when he picked up his backup goalkeeper for Jasper Cillessen in the final stages of extra time against Costa Rica, Arnold rolled the dice to choose his third-choice goalkeeper for Mat Ryan. bring. just minutes before the shootout against Peru.

It was a bold decision, one that had the potential to backfire spectacularly. The line between madness and genius is thin, often separated by little more than results and the whims of fate. Had things gone wrong, Arnold’s tenure would have turned into greater disgrace than he lost by staying with Ryan—who had been between the sticks in the Socceroos’ last triumphant shootout.

But history will now validate the move. Just as his pranks set the stage for Sydney FC to win the 2019-20 A-League Men Grand Final against Perth Glory, Redmayne once again emerged as a trump card. He danced along the goal line, waving his arms theatrically – penalty-saving tactics that have earned him the nickname “the Gray Wiggle” – before ducking to his right side and helping Valera’s low effort.

The save sparked some wild scenes at Al Rayyan Stadium, completing a journey for Redmayne where he was nurtured by Arnold during his time in Sydney and molded into one of the ALM’s best goalkeepers before the same coach took him to the national lineup .

If Tuesday morning’s match had been a boxing match, the Socceroos would probably have won on points. There was nothing particularly innovative or exciting about their build – there were lots of long balls through the channels and hit-and-hopes for the battering ram that is Mitch Duke – but Peru showed very little. They looked nothing like the team that reached the Copa America semifinals in 2019 and the semifinals in 2021. Nor were there any signs of the team storming into a play-off spot for Conmebol over countries like Chile and Colombia.

It took some time into the 81st minute for Ajdin Hrustic to deliver the first shot on goal of the match, but Australia could have made the more menacing attacks forward by the time the 90 ended. Duke ran into second balls and missed the ball early on and moments after Hrustic’s attempt, Aziz Behich skipped past a series of defenders and shot a shot just wide. Whether because of fear, poor preparation or the defensive discipline of their enemies – or more likely a combination – Peru played the game on the terms of the Socceroos, and Arnold’s side won with experience.

Still, there was an inevitable sense of Australian fear. Fears that the Peruvians would somehow rise and find a way or that Edison Flores’ next header in extra time would not hit the post and instead find the back of the net. Fear that Martin Boyle’s miss with Socceroos’ opening penalty would set a trend and prove death, or that Australian luck would run out and the hopes that had been aroused would be shattered.

But they weren’t. Arnold’s gamble paid off and the Socceroos are on their way to a fifth world championship in a row.

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