Andrew Redmayne will never need to pay for a beer in his life after helping to send the Socceroos to the World Cup.
His infamous ‘Wiggles’ penalty-saving routine gained success once again, this time on the international stage as he came on as a 119th minute substitute and helped Australia beat Peru 5-4 in a penalty shootout.
He’s an unlikely hero; the very inclusion of the Sydney FC goalkeeper in the Socceroos’ squad raised eyebrows, after a challenging season in the A-League Men. However, head coach Graham Arnold had a masterplan, as Redmayne told Australian media post-match.
“The idea was first floated about a month ago. I was told to get ready for that kind of thing so it was always in the back of my mind coming into the UAE game and this game.”
He revealed that the plan was developed behind the backs of the rest of the squad, but Mathew Ryan was nothing but encouraging when he was asked to make way ahead of the shoot out.
“He was full of support coming off, and even at full-time he was pumping me up, getting me ready, asking me if there was anything I needed.”
“I’m under no illusion about where I stand within this team. Maty’s played the bulk of the games in this campaign but I’m just glad to have been able to play a role and be a small percentage of that.”
On his rather bizarre celebration, Redmayne confessed that he was actually under instruction from the referee not to run off, in order to check his save was legal.
“He said to me: ‘We’ll need to check the VAR because you move around a lot,’ but we’d worked on staying on the line throughout the camp so I knew I would have been okay, but it was still surreal trying to hear the full time whistle. I couldn’t hear it and I was trying to keep a lid on things until I did.”
“He threatened a yellow card on a couple of occasions, saying I was trying to provoke players, but I told him I wasn’t trying to do that. I wasn’t giving them any verbals, but any little thing that I could do to gain that extra 1%, I was going to do it. We spoke as a team how much it means to go to a World Cup so if I could gain 1 or 2% by doing something stupid or making a fool of myself, I was going to do it.”
Redmayne and Arnold know each other well from their time together at Sydney FC between 2015 and 2018, and the ‘keeper is grateful for the way the head coach as nurtured the national team.
“He got us altogether after the game and told us this was the greatest achievement he’d been a part of. This camp has been outstanding, the level has really gone up a couple of notches, and that’s down to the belief that Arnie puts in the players. The people external to this group don’t see the work and passion that he puts in to every player that comes into these camps and wears the green and gold shirt.”
“Every player who has been a part of this campaign will say the same thing. He makes everyone feel so welcome and so at home within this group, so all credit to him.”
The result means Australia will now join France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with the tournament getting underway in November.