Australian soccer has a brand new entry in its folklore and in Andrew Redmayne, the Socceroos goalkeeper, a brand new icon.
After 120 minutes couldn’t separate Graham Arnold’s aspect and Peru, qualification for the World Cup in Qatar got here down to at least one second within the crucible of a penalty shootout: Redmayne on the goalline and Alex Valera on the spot. All Australia wanted was for the Universitario ahead’s effort to go wherever besides the again of the online. Redmayne made certain it didn’t.
The pictures of his expression within the aftermath, mouth agape in one of many widest grins seen on a soccer pitch as his teammates sprinted off the midway line to affix him within the celebrations, will maybe show much more well-known than the save itself. Simply as John Aloisi shedding his shirt as he wheeled away in celebration has been performed time and again because the years have passed by, the Redmayne smile will reside on.
Australian soccer has its personal Tim Krul second. Simply as Louis van Gaal did on the 2014 World Cup when he introduced on his back-up goalkeeper for Jasper Cillessen within the dying levels of extra-time in opposition to Costa Rica, Arnold rolled the cube in bringing his third-choice keeper on for Mat Ryan simply minutes previous to the shootout in opposition to Peru.
It was a daring choice, one which had the potential to backfire spectacularly. The road between insanity and genius is a skinny one, continuously separated by little greater than outcomes and the whims of destiny. Had it gone incorrect, Arnold’s tenure would have consigned to better depths of infamy than had he misplaced by sticking with Ryan – who had been between the sticks within the Socceroos’ final triumphant shootout.
However historical past will now validate the transfer. Simply as his hijinks set the scene for Sydney FC to win the 2019-20 A-League Males grand closing in opposition to Perth Glory, Redmayne got here up trumps once more. He danced alongside the goalline and theatrically waved his arms round – penalty-saving ways which have earned him the nickname “the gray Wiggle” – earlier than diving right down to his proper and getting a hand to Valera’s low effort.
The save sparked wild scenes at Al Rayyan Stadium and accomplished a journey for Redmayne that has seen him nurtured by Arnold throughout his time at Sydney and moulded into one of many ALM’s best goalkeepers, earlier than the identical coach introduced him into the nationwide setup.
If Tuesday morning’s contest had been a boxing match, the Socceroos arguably would have received on factors. There was nothing significantly revolutionary or thrilling about their build-up – there have been quite a lot of lengthy balls down the channels and hit-and-hopes for the battering ram that’s Mitch Duke – however Peru confirmed little or no. They was nothing just like the aspect that had reached the semi-finals of the Copa America in 2019 and the semis in 2021. Nor had been there indicators of the crew that had stormed right into a Conmebol playoff spot over the likes of Chile and Colombia.
It took till a set piece within the 81st minute for Ajdin Hrustic to ship the sport’s first shot on track, however Australia had been in a position to create the extra threatening forays ahead by the point the 90 concluded. Pouncing on second balls, Duke flashed photographs extensive early and moments after Hrustic’s effort Aziz Behich skipped previous a collection of defenders and flashed a shot simply extensive. Be it because of concern, poor preparation or the defensive self-discipline of their foes – or extra seemingly a mixture – Peru had been enjoying the sport on the Socceroos’ phrases, and Arnold’s aspect was profitable with expertise.
But nonetheless, there was an inevitable sense of Australian concern. Trepidation that by some means the Peruvians would carry and discover a method or that the subsequent Edison Flores extra-time header wouldn’t hit the publish and as an alternative discover the again of the online. Worry that Martin Boyle’s miss with the Socceroos opening penalty would kickstart a pattern and show terminal, or that Australian luck would run out and hopes that had been raised could be dashed.
However they weren’t. Arnold’s gamble paid off and the Socceroos are headed for a fifth straight World Cup.