Shootout win over Peru secures Socceroos World Cup spot



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Australian football has a new entry in its folklore and in Andrew Redmayne, the Socceroos goalkeeper, a new icon.

After 120 minutes could not separate Graham Arnold's side and Peru, certification for the World Cup in Qatar boiled down to one minute in the crucible of a penalty shootout: Redmayne on the goalline and Alex Valera at the spot. All Australia required was for the Universitario forward's effort to go anywhere except the back of the net. Redmayne made certain it did not.

The images of his expression in the consequences, mouth agape in among the best grins seen on a football pitch as his colleagues ran off the halfway line to join him in the celebrations, will maybe prove even more popular than the save itself. Just as John Aloisi losing his shirt as he wheeled away in celebration has actually been played over and over as the years have gone by, the Redmayne smile will live on.

Australian football has its own Tim Krul moment. Just as Louis van Gaal did at the 2014 World Cup when he induced his back-up goalkeeper for Jasper Cillessen in the dying phases of extra-time against Costa Rica, Arnold rolled the dice in bringing his third-choice keeper on for Mat Ryan simply minutes prior to the shootout against Peru.

It was a bold decision, one that had the possible to backfire amazingly. The line in between insanity and genius is a thin one, regularly separated by bit more than outcomes and the impulses of fate. Had it gone wrong, Arnold's period would have consigned to higher depths of infamy than had he lost by sticking to Ryan-- who had been between the sticks in the Socceroos' last victorious shootout.

However history will now verify the move. Just as his hijinks set the scene for Sydney FC to win the 2019-20 A-League Men grand final against Perth Glory, Redmayne showed up trumps once again. He danced along the goalline and theatrically waved his arms around-- penalty-saving strategies that have earned him the nickname "the grey Wiggle"-- prior to diving to his right and getting a hand to Valera's low effort.

The save triggered wild scenes at Al Rayyan Stadium and completed a journey for Redmayne that has actually seen him supported by Arnold throughout his time at Sydney and moulded into one of the ALM's finest goalkeepers, before the same coach brought him into the national setup.

If Tuesday early morning's contest were a boxing match, the Socceroos arguably would have won on points. There was nothing particularly innovative or exciting about their accumulation-- there were a lot of long balls down the channels and hit-and-hopes for the battering ram that is Mitch Duke-- but Peru showed very little. They was absolutely nothing like the side that had actually reached the semi-finals of the Copa America in 2019 and the semis in 2021. Nor were there signs of the team that had stormed into a Conmebol playoff spot over the likes of Chile and Colombia.

It took until a set piece in the 81st minute for Ajdin Hrustic to deliver the game's first shot on target, but Australia had been able to produce the more threatening ventures forward by the time the 90 concluded. Pouncing on second balls, Duke flashed shots wide early and minutes after Hrustic's effort Aziz Behich skipped past a series of defenders and flashed a shot just wide. Be it due to fear, poor preparation or the defensive discipline of their enemies-- or most likely a combination-- Peru were playing the game on the Socceroos' terms, and Arnold's side was winning with experience.

Yet still, there was an unavoidable sense of Australian fear. Trepidation that somehow the Peruvians would raise and discover a way or that the next Edison Flores extra-time header would not strike the post and rather find the back of the net. Fear that Martin Boyle's miss with the Socceroos opening penalty would start a pattern and prove terminal, or that Australian luck would go out and hopes that had been raised would be rushed.

However they were not. Arnold's gamble paid off and the Socceroos are headed for a fifth straight World Cup.
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