Andrew Redmayne: "I'm no hero"
Andrew Redmayne became an overnight hero following his match-winning save in the Socceroos' World Cup Playoff penalty shootout against Peru.
Many have lauded not just his final heroic save but the way he was able to take control of the entire shootout, distracting his opponents by dancing, protecting his own teammates by handing theM ball himself, and of course the mysterious disappearance of a set of notes about the Aussie penalty takers.
Subbed on in the 119th minute for Australian Captain, Mathew Ryan, it was perhaps the boldest decision of Head Coach Graham Arnold's career.
A decision that paid off, sending Australia to a fifth straight World Cup.
Awer Mabil's expertly dispatched penalty had given Australia the upper hand and it was down to Redmayne, dancing along the line, to make the stop and secure qualification in the most dramatic circumstances.
That save sparked pandemonium, relief, and hundreds of memes from the expression of surprise and joy on Redmayne's face, as the feel good factor across the nation continued when touching back down in Australia.
Speaking to the media throng at Sydney Airport, the 33-year-old revealed his potential entrance into the fray was discussed some six weeks prior.
Socceroos Goalkeeper Coach John Crawley seeded the idea in Redmayne's mind and from that point on he began his mental preparation for what seemed like an unlikely scenario.
"In my head I was looking at penalties, and routines and little things that players, and opposition players can do to disrupt and what best practice I could impart," he said.
"I was kind of hoping it wouldn't come to that but it did so I felt I was well prepared for it."
Redmayne's 'Wiggles dance' is nothing new to Australian football fans however it was the first time international audiences have witnessed his technique.
Clips and memes have gone viral around the world but the Sydney FC shot stopper was just 'doing his thing'.
"I couldn't tell you, I was just doing my thing and what came naturally to me," he explained.
"John and I kind of came up with that a few years ago now, that if you can distract the penalty taker and gain a slight advantage by doing something silly and make a fool of yourself then why not?
"I'm more than happy to."
Redmayne was also quizzed about the decision to remove the notes Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had on his water bottle from the field of play.
He revealed it was also something that was discussed prior as a measure that could happen to the Socceroos.
"We spoke about it that if we had notes on our drink bottle, if someone saw that then it would be thrown a long, long way away.
I know how much it means to the boys and it was kind of a kill or be killed moment.
Almost as iconic as the save itself was Redmayne's reaction. He shared his feelings in the moment as his teammates raced to celebrate with a man dubbed 'The Grey Wiggle' for his masterclass in distraction.
"Yeah, I was pretty surprised and the ref said to me the two penalties before, if you make a save then you win the game and we're going to have to clear it with VAR to make sure you didn't come off the line.
"So don't go running off."
Despite playing a major part in securing qualification for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, Redmayne refused to take any plaudits.
He instead dedicated his success to his fellow Australian teammates who have spent the last four years on the Road to Qatar, only playing four of 20 qualifying matches on Australian soil.
"It's pretty surreal and I don't think it's really even sunk in yet. It's been a three-four year campaign and I only played a small part at the end of it.
"I can't really take any credit, the boys ran out 120 minutes and kept a very good side scoreless and even chance-less.
I'm no hero.
"Like I said the boys ran out 120 minutes, even before that to get through the UAE game, to get through the whole qualifying campaign we've gone through COVID, lockdowns, isolations.
"Arine has unfortunately been missing for a few games and the boys have had injuries and upsets.
"I'm just so happy for the group in general to qualify for the World Cup."