The Socceroos of Australia have qualified for their fifth consecutive world cup after beating Peru 5-4 via penalty shootout in their intercontinental playoff yesterday. Both sides failed to score in normal regulation time, as the affair proved too tight for a breakthrough at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium.
The goalkeeper of the Australian team proved to be the hero, after making the decisive save from Alex Valera to win the tie for his team. He however came as a late substitute to replace the captain Matt Ryan in goal.
“I´m not a hero,” Redmayne said. “I just played my role like everyone else did tonight. I’m not going to take credit for this.” The heroic goalkeeper said humbly after the game.
However, the head coach of the Socceroos Graham Arnold must receive plaudits for taking a successful gamble in replacing an established goalie in Ryan with an inexperienced Redmayne who has just three caps under his belt.
The goalkeeper’s unique way of moving across the goal line caught the eye as he made faces to distract the Peruvian players. The strategy clearly worked given the results.
The manager Arnold was full of praise for his second-choice goalie and had only flowering words for the player. Andrew Redmayne is a very good penalty saver,” an emotional Arnold said in a post-game interview.
The Socceroos had to qualify through the most difficult of routes possible. This could be blamed on the fact that they played most of their fixtures away from home due to travel restrictions in the country.
The Australians finished third in their Asian qualifying series behind Saudi Arabia and Japan while they had to grind out a victory against the UAE.
The head coach Arnold, recognizing the difficulties his team had in qualify was grateful to his team. “I´m just so proud of the players,” Arnold said. “Really, no one knows what these boys have been through to get here. It was so hard, the whole campaign. The way they´ve stuck at it. The way they´ve committed themselves to it … incredible. Twenty World Cup qualifiers, 16 away from home. It’s been tough, but we did it.” Enthused the emotional and elated manager.
The Australians would have to now contend with defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia in what promises to be an exciting group D.