Australian fans have gone wild for back-up Socceroos’ goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne and his energetic celebrations after Tuesday’s last-gasp win over Peru.
Redmayne has been dubbed the “grey Wiggle” for his wild dance after he became the unlikeliest of heroes in the Socceroos’ World Cup triumph at Doha’s Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
It came after he replaced Maty Ryan in the penalty shootout – a plan cooked up in such secrecy in the past month that even the Socceroos captain knew nothing about it.
Thrust into the fray in the dying minutes of the sudden-death encounter, the bearded Sydney FC shot-stopper was the star of the penalty shootout that sent Australia to a fifth-straight World Cup finals.
The decision by coach Graham Arnold had been hatched a long time prior to their intercontinental play-offs, with even the team’s skipper, Ryan, kept out of the loop.
“It’s a plan that was floated a month to six weeks ago and I probably didn’t think it would end this way,” Redmayne said.
“The longer the camp went on, the more comfortable I felt with this scenario.
“I don’t think any of the players knew about it, a few clocked on at halftime because I went through a few drills to keep the eye in.
“Maty was full of support coming off and then just before penalties as well, he was pumping me up and getting me ready.
“Maty didn’t know [I was going to come on]. He said: ‘all the best mate, this is your time’.
“Even at full-time [of extra-time] when we were in a huddle he said: ‘you’ve got this mate, this is all you’. He was nothing but supportive, he’s an absolute legend.”
Redmayne reprised the Wiggles-style dance moves that he displayed in the 2019 A-League grand final win over Perth by saving the decisive penalty from Alex Valera.
His flailing arms had forced an earlier strike from Luis Advincula to hit the post, bringing Australia back into contention after Martin Boyle opened the shootout with a miss.
“They (Peru) would have prepared all week thinking Maty was going to be in goals,” Redmayne said.
“To put me on would have thrown them a little bit.
“I spoke to a couple of players in our cohort and they said it would have rattled them having a different goalkeeper come on.”
The Wiggles were quick to join in the congratulations for Redmayne, releasing a video acknowledging the dance with Jeff Fatt, the purple Wiggle reenacting his now-famous save.
“Congratulations to all the Socceroos, especially Andrew the Grey Wiggle. Mate you’ve inspired everybody, including Jeff – he wants to be a goalkeeper just like you,” blue Wiggle Anthony Field said.
After Valera’s miss, Redmayne pointed to his Socceroos teammates before standing still with his hands on his thighs and his mouth ajar in astonishment.
Redmayne’s wife Caitlin revealed on Tuesday the celebration was actually a face he frequently pulls for their toddler daughter Poppy.
“I must say that was a tribute to our little girl Poppy,” Caitlin told the NIne Network.
“That face of his that he pulls always lights up her face. I’m pretty sure that was for her, it wasn’t just him pulling that crazy face. That was pretty special. Look at that face, you couldn’t not love it.”
And love it fans do – the moment has spawned an internet meme that has already gone viral.
Redmayne claimed he was just acting on the advice of Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic.
“He said on the last two penalties: ‘If you save this, then you win’. That’s kind of how it hit home,” he said.
“He said: ‘Don’t go running off because we need to check on VAR if you’ve come off the line because you move around a lot. So don’t go running or celebrating’.
“I was trying to hear the full-time whistle and I was trying to keep a lid on it.”