Socceroos goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne credits team performance after World Cup qualification
Graham Arnold’s call to sub Andrew Redmayne on for the shootout paid off in spades as he saved the decisive penalty to seal the Socceroos’ passage to Qatar.
Eyebrows were raised in the 119th minute when under-pressure coach Arnold pulled captain Matt Ryan, one of the Socceroos’ best players on a night of few chances.
But the brave call paid huge dividends as Australia sealed its berth at the World Cup later this year when Redmayne saved Peru’s sixth spot kick.
“Bit lost for words. I can’t thank the team enough...I am not going to take credit for this because the boys ran out 120 minutes,” Redmayne told Channel 10.
“It’s a team effort, it’s a team game so I can’t earn any more credit than the other 27 that are here.”
The back-up keeper revealed the penalty strategy had been devised weeks ago.
“This idea was floated pre-selection that this might kind of eventuate in these circumstances. For the 2-3 weeks we have been here I’ve kind of been having that in my mind,” he said on Channel 10.
“I’m grateful for the other boys for running out 120 minutes.
“I’m no hero. I just played my role like everyone else did tonight.”
Former Socceroo Mark Milligan said: “It’s a massive, massive call because if it doesn’t work, you own that as well.”
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, whose position came under pressure after Australia failed to earn automatic qualification, said: “Andrew Redmayne is a very good penalty saver. And to try and get into the mind, on the mental aspect for Peru — why are we making that change? To add that little bit of uncertainty in their brains.”
Qatar World Cup groups
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
- Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica/New Zealand, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
Australia will face World No.3 France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.
Defender Aziz Behich said the Socceroos’ gruelling qualification campaign had deserved a spot in the last 32.
“Of course (the shootout was) stressful (with) what’s at stake...I trust our players,” he said.
“In these type of situations it’s all about being confident and having so-called balls and that’s what our boys showed tonight.
“We’re going to another World Cup and I can’t wait.”
Arnold went one better, urging new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to give Australians a day off to celebrate.
“I’m just so proud of the players. Really, no one knows what these boys have been through to get to here. It was so hard,” he said.
“The whole campaign and the way they have stuck at it. The way they have committed themselves to it. Incredible.”
Peru came closest to breaking the deadlock in extra-time when substitute Edison Flores struck the upright with a header.
Earlier, Behich’s curling effort almost caught Pedro Gallese out and Ajdin Hrustic forced the Peru keeper into a diving save as Australia pressed for a winner in regular time.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails