Australian goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne has paused to reflect on his ‘surreal’ superstar status after a triumphant return to Sydney.
Adoring fans greeted several Socceroos players as they landed from Qatar on Wednesday evening.
The team is coming off a historic win against Peru that qualified them for the World Cup later this year.
Redmayne, whose save in the penalty shoot and unconventional response immediately earned him icon status, was among the returning players.
The 33-year-old, who met his wife and young daughter at the terminal, said he had avoided seeing much of the spotlight on him in the past two days.
“I spent at least six hours in a swimming pool and then 14 hours on a plane, so I didn’t see any of it, but it’s pretty unreal,” he told reporters.
“It was fun to enjoy the moment with the boys after a historic night.”
Camera IconSocceroos Andrew Redmayne was met at Sydney Airport by his wife Caitlin and 17-month-old daughter Poppy. Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia
He said the qualifying credit should be on the team that put in countless hours for the shootout to get to that point.
At the business end of the match, Redmayne was also spotted throwing away the opposing goalkeeper’s cheat sheets, which he believes was a pre-planned tactic if the opportunity arose.
“I know how much it means to the guys, and it was kind of kill or be killed,” he said.
The goalkeeper explained that the now iconic ‘wiggle dance’ he used to save the crucial goal was invented several years ago to distract the penalty taker.
“I was just doing my thing,” he explained.
“If you can distract the penalty taker and gain a small advantage by doing something stupid and fooling yourself, why not?”
Camera IconSocceroos Captain Matthew Ryan signed an autograph for a young fan. Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia
Team captain Matthew Ryan, who was eliminated for Redmayne in the penalty shootout, said the change came as a surprise, but he was happy with the result and with coach Graham Arnold’s decision.
“Nobody told me that was the plan or anything like that. I looked back and had to take a little double,” he said.
“I was like, ‘Are you sure – we’re doing that now?’ But he’s in charge and makes the decisions, and I respect his decisions. He’s clearly trying to do what’s best for the team.”
Chief Executive Officer of Football Australia James Johnson stood behind Arnold when he came under pressure earlier this year for the team’s lack of results.
“There was a period in the qualifying process where we didn’t perform,” Johnson said.
“Arnie has a lot of horrors about him… he’s very loyal to the country… and looking at it, that was what it took to get this team to the World Cup.”
The team still has a few intense months ahead of the start of the World Cup in November.
Johnson said the win proved Australia was a “football nation”.
“We have the women’s World Cup qualifiers around the corner, and I think we can say with a high degree of confidence that this is a football nation,” he said.
MORE PHOTOS OF THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF SOCCEROOS
Camera Icon A smiling Craig Goodwin at Sydney Airport. Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp AustraliaCamera IconSocceroos Andrew Redmayne with his 17-month-old daughter Poppy getting a high five from Captain Mathew Ryan. Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp AustraliaCamera IconSocceroos Andrew Redmayne laughing with his daughter Poppy. Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia