Australia goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne insists he is ‘no hero’ after his controversial penalty antics secured his country’s place at the World Cup.
Redmayne replaced captain Mat Ryan as a shootout loomed in the final stages of extra time in the tense AFC/CONMEBOL Intercontinental play-off clash against Peru at Al Rayyan, the Socceroos coach’s calculated gamble Graham Arnold paying generously.
The substitute, who had never featured in a qualifying game before and was only earning his third senior international cap at 33, ended up saving Alex Valera’s kick to secure a 5-4 victory for the Australia after a draw and a place in Qatar this winter.
However, such a triumph is likely to be remembered for Redmayne’s actions ahead of each Peru penalty, which saw him attempt to fend off the shooter with bizarre dances, jumps, ripples and sweeping movements across the goal line. .
There were nuances of Bruce Grobbelaar as he became an instant internet sensation, with the merits and fairness of such an approach being debated late into the night on social media.
Redmayne’s crucial save sparked scenes of pandemonium on the pitch and at home in Australia, although he was eager to downplay his role after the game.
“If I could make 1 or 2% doing something stupid and making a fool of myself, then I was going to do it,” he said of his antics.
“I only played a very small part, I don’t think I’m a hero or anything. The boys put in a hell of a shift to run 120 minutes against really good opposition.
Redmayne added that his dance puzzled Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic, who believed he was trying to provoke the Peruvian players and warned they should consult VAR.
“I think he was a little puzzled about my antics, he threatened a yellow card a couple of times for trying to provoke players, I said I’m not doing that,” he said. declared.
“(He) told me the last two penalties: ‘If you save that you win, but don’t run off to celebrate because we have to check the VAR because you’re moving around a lot'”
Australia will be placed in Group D for this year’s World Cup, which begins in November, alongside defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia.
It will be their fifth consecutive appearance at football’s biggest tournament, as the Socceroos have not failed to qualify for the competition since 2002.
Prior to 2006, when they achieved their best result to date by reaching the round of 16 in Germany, they had not reached the final since their debut in 1974.
Asked about his risk of swapping goalkeepers ahead of the shootout, Australia coach Arnold told reporters: “He’s a very good penalty saver and I did something that could affect them mentally.
“They were probably wondering, ‘Why is this guy being brought in? It must be good’.