Australia on Tuesday celebrated the antics of dancing goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne whose penalty shootout save against Peru saw them to a fifth straight World Cup finals.
The 33-year-old clowned his way along the goal line as Peru’s players prepared to take their penalty kicks and his block of Alex Valera’s shot gave Australia a 5-4 win after the two sides had been deadlocked without a goal for 120 minutes.
Australia coach Graham Arnold brought Redmayne on for team captain Mathew Ryan for the final minutes of extra time as a ploy for the shootout.
Martin Boyle missed Australia’s first penalty but the next five were all on target.
Redmayne danced and jigged along the line to unnerve the Peru players and Luis Advincula’s shot cannoned off a post. Redmayne’s save of Valera’s shot set off wild celebrations among the Socceroos and their band of a few hundred supporters.
Arnold said that Ryan is a “fantastic goalkeeper” but Sydney FC’s Redmayne “is a good penalty saver and at that stage of the game I was just trying to do something that could affect them (Peru) mentally.”
“Maybe that’s why they hit the post,” Arnold said. “They thought they had to put it closer to the post to score. It’s a risk but it worked.”
Redmayne denied he was the hero of the night, saying his routine was “a little thing I do” for Sydney that has “proved quite successful”.
“If I can gain one percent by making a fool of myself then I will,” he said.
“I love this team, I love this country and I love this sport. I am under no illusions that all I did was to save one penalty.”
Victory gave Australia the penultimate place available for the tournament that starts on November 21. They will play defending champions France in Group D one day later to start their sixth appearance at the World Cup in all.
The final place for the finals will be decided on Tuesday when Oceania champions New Zealand take on Costa Rica who were in the central and north American qualifying contest.
(With inputs from AFP)