Australia’s substitute goalkeeper, Andrew Redmayne, saved the final penalty kick to seal a place in this year’s World Cup in Qatar as they beat Peru 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw after extra time in an intercontinental playoff on Monday.
Redmayne danced across the goal line before diving to the right to block a kick from Alex Valera and give Australia a deserved win at Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium.
Redmayne was brought in within three minutes of the match to a penalty shootout and became an instant hero with his antics on the line looking to distract the opposing player.
He danced up and down, shaking his hips and throwing his arms in a throwback to the clown antics of Liverpool’s Bruce Grobbelaar when they won the European Cup in 1984.
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It was enough for Louis Advincula to unleash his effort against the post and then Valera to save his effort as Australia qualified for the World Cup for the fifth consecutive time and sixth on aggregate.
They will play in Group D of the World Cup with defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia. The finals will run from November 21 to December 21. 18.
“I am very proud of the players,” Australia coach Graham Arnold said. “No one really knows what those boys went through to get here, it’s been so hard, the whole campaign. The way they stuck, the way they stuck, it was amazing.”
On the decision to bring Redmayne for penalty shootouts, Arnold added: “He’s a good penalty shootout saver and I’ve done something that can affect them mentally.
Perhaps they were asking themselves the question: “Why is this man brought, he must be good.”
“Maybe that’s why they hit the post. It’s a 1% mental effort to annoy the penalty shootout guards in Peru. It was a risk but it worked.”
Australia missed the first penalty but turned the next five to silence thousands of Peruvian fans, who traveled to the match and gave a raucous support but saw their side turn up some chances.
Instead, a player like Australia dominated the early exchanges, with winger Martin Boyle twice cutting through the Peruvian defense to deliver exciting crosses.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with limited efforts on goal until the 80th minute when Australia suddenly had three good chances to win the match.
Peru captain Pedro Galeese easily saved Agden Hrostic’s free kick and after five minutes Aziz Bahish broke two steps and suddenly found himself in front of the goal, but he narrowly missed trying to straighten his shot into the net.
Then running to the left of Australian substitute Auer Mabel saw him slip the ball in Hrustic’s way but he didn’t get enough power in his shot and Galeese saved again.
After nine minutes of extra time, Australian Matthew Ryan was finally tested with a stinging Edison Flores shot that was saved by the goalkeeper.
Flores then headed against the post as the South American team found extra strength in the closing stages but were still unable to decide the score after two hours of play, paving the way for Redmayne to emerge as champions.
“I’m a bit lost for words. It’s a team game, it’s a team effort, so I can’t get any more credit than any of the other 27 players. [players] Redmayne said.
“This idea was brought up in the pre-selection that might happen in such circumstances, and in the two or three weeks we’ve been here (in Qatar), I’ve been sort of thinking about that.
“I’ve been working on a few things in training but at the end of the day it was like flipping the coin, either right or left.
“I’m not a hero, I played my part like everyone else did tonight.”
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca said: “We were expecting to achieve it, we were close but unfortunately it was not.
“We are in pain. We did our best. They emptied their tanks and we feel cheated that we are out of the World Cup. We wanted to avoid penalty shootouts.”
The play-off between the fifth-placed Asian qualifiers and South America placed 31st in this year’s World Cup finals.
On Tuesday, final place will be decided upon when Costa Rica and New Zealand face off in the intercontinental play-off, as well as at Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium.