John Aloisi jersey in crowd, Andrew Redmayne retire, shootout hero
It might have been 17 years on but the spirit of John Aloisi was with the Socceroos in their epic shootout win over Peru to book a fifth straight World Cup appearance.
As Andrew Redmayne wrote himself in Australian sporting history with his “grey Wiggle” dance on the goal line and the game-winning save that booked the Socceroos’ tickets to Qatar, the spirit of Aloisi was with the goalkeeper.
Or more accurately, right behind him.
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The traditional Aussie position of underdogs with our backs to the wall, one fan took it upon himself to sprinkle some Aloisi magic on the result.
For those who somehow don’t remember or haven’t seen sports highlights in the last 17 years, Aloisi was the man who ended Australia’s 32-year-old World Cup drought in 2005 when he slotted the most famous kick in our history.
And while at 46, he wasn’t out on the field, it feels right that Aloisi was included in the massive moment.
The Age’s Roy Ward wrote: “Who was the megastar holding the John Aloisi jersey up behind the goals? Ultimate karma!”
Football reporter Chris Hockman added: “We need the spirit of Aloisi.”
Aloisi’s fingerprints are all over the 2022 victory as well.
Having coached the Melbourne Heart in 2012 in an ill-fated coaching tenure which ended with his sacking in 2013, Aloisi praised Redmayne’s work ethic.
Speaking on the Optus Sport GegenPod, Aloisi revealed Redmayne had not always been the professional penalty saver he has become.
“Coaching him at Melbourne Heart, it was funny, because I ended up getting a text from my goalkeeper coach back then Joey Didulica and he said, ‘let’s hope his penalty saves are a lot better than when we had him’,” Aloisi said.
“He had zero in 10 (penalty saves at) Melbourne Heart, then he went to Sydney FC after a few years under (now Socceroos goalkeeper coach) John Crawley and started to perfect his penalty saves. You remember he saved penalties against Perth Glory a few years ago in the grand final, so he has done it before.
“Obviously Arnie would’ve practised penalties during the week, seeing how good he was against the Socceroos players and gone you know what, I’ve got confidence in him, I’ll throw him in. Credit to Andrew Redmayne because he has never put his head down, he has just kept on going and he deserves the success.”
It’s been quite a turn around for Redmayne, who was ready to quit professional football in 2016 at 27 as he was mainly known as a No. 2 goalkeeper.
And now he’ll go down in Australian sporting folklore.
But the parallels didn’t end there.
Aloisi said Peru’s attitude was very similar to Uruguay circa 2005.
“They haven’t qualified for back-to-back World Cups for a long time so the pressure would’ve been there for them,” Aloisi told Optus Sport. “We spoke about preparation, but also we can’t underestimate the pressure they would’ve felt.
“We should be beating Australia; I’ve been hearing it, all the journos, that we’re going to beat Australia easy, Australia are kangaroos and they’re jumping around making fun of us. It brought me back to Uruguay, that it was their divine right to qualify.
“It’s a dangerous game they’re playing. It doesn’t matter who you’re up against, you underestimate them, you don’t analyse them enough, you don’t respect them enough, they can come and hurt you.
“They had the crowd behind them but even the crowd started to quieten a little bit, they started to get nervous about the whole situation. They didn’t prepare right for this game and they got what they deserved.”
Fellow 2005 Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer it was extra sweet to see Peru fans upset after the overwhelming cockiness before the match.
A video even circulated before the match of Peruvian fans trying to put their flag up among the nations which had qualified before the match.
After the match, the tears were flowing as the 22nd ranked nation crashed out to the 42nd ranked Socceroos.
“We do like seeing them crying afterwards when they underestimate us and they put us down and think they’re going to win easily,” Schwarzer said.
“That does stick to mind about Uruguay absolutely. That is exactly what I felt as well.
“They underestimated us, they had this sense of party beforehand already, thinking ‘right we’ve got this in the bag, we’re just going to have to turn up and we’ll win this game’. There is nothing better than shoving it back in their face.”