Goalkeeper secures a place in the World Cup and in Aussie folklore
Redmayne also guessed correctly. He stopped his so-called Wiggles dance just long enough to rebalance, dive to his right to save Peru’s last shot from Alex Valera and secure Australia’s 5-4 penalty shootout victory, and a place in Qata r in November. A victory for Peru would have shed a whole new light on the tactics of the 33-year-old goalkeeper.
Australia’s chances of qualifying for a fifth consecutive World Cup depended on Redmayne after the Intercontinental qualifiers ended 0-0 after settlement and extra time in Qatar late Monday night – it started Tuesday morning in Australia.
Arnold had a hunch that the Sydney FC keeper would produce something different in the shootout that could get into the minds of the Peruvian shooters. He wasn’t wrong.
After a few star jumps, Redmayne launched into a dance routine that included quick squats and flailing arms and legs, catching everyone’s attention. He did it every time a Peruvian player took a kick from the penalty spot. Pundits have openly questioned whether the reserve keeper should ditch the unusual antics and simply move one way or the other in an attempt to stop Peru’s penalty shootout.
A television commentator nicknamed him the Wiggles dance, after the popular Australian children’s music group widely known for their so-called wiggly music and colorful turtlenecks.
After his dive save, Redmayne fled from the post, arms outstretched like an airplane, then stopped and crouched slightly, legs apart, mouth open, eyes wide, waiting for the celebratory pile.
The expression on his face was an instant meme. And his teammates streamed in from the sidelines to jump on him.
Australian fans who had gathered in the chilly Southern Hemisphere winter to watch the match at outdoor viewing areas, including one in Melbourne’s city centre, Federation Square, erupted in delight.
Tony Armstrong, sports presenter for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and former Australian professional footballer, was among thousands who could barely contain their joy. It was shouting into his mic “Yes, we made it, we made it to the World Cup” as he mixed it with partygoers.
It was Australia’s second sudden death match in a week – the Socceroos beat the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in an Asian qualifier last Tuesday to advance to the game against Peru.
Australia’s next big mission will be a meeting with defending champions France in the opening Group D match at the World Cup on November 22, and face Tunisia and Denmark.
Australia rules football and both codes of rugby usually come into prominence at this time of year Down Under. But in the space of two hours, the Socceroos went from long shots to qualify for the World Cup to big shots in the sport in Australia, at least for the day.
“The dedication and sacrifice of so many in this campaign has been immense,” Arnold said. “And as Australia’s coach, I’m delighted that millions of people across our country are talking about the Socceroos today – a team that represents modern Australia through its diversity and multiculturalism and unites the nation.”
According to Arnold, saving Redmayne for the critical moment was part of the game plan.
“Andrew Redmayne is a really good penalty saver,” Arnold said in a post-match TV interview, explaining he made the switch to put “a bit of uncertainty in their brains, getting into the aspect mind of Peru”.
Redmayne, who had only played twice before for the Socceroos, will attract attention, but he preferred to deflect it.
“I’m not a hero,” he said. “I just played my part like everyone else did tonight. I can’t thank the team, the staff enough. You know, I’m not going to take credit for that.
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