Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Maty Ryan says that his penalty shootout heroics in Australia’s 4-2 spot-kick win over Uzbekistan on Monday is one of the pinnacles of his career to date.
The Seagulls stopper produced a string of fine stops during normal time as the Socceroos beat their round of 32 opponents having been locked at 0-0 after normal and extra time, and he reflected on the memorable occasion with pride.
He said, “Recently I got 50 caps to my name, but I hadn’t saved a penalty for the national team, it was something that was bugging me.
“To get two in that moment makes me really happy and for a goalkeeper that’s the pinnacle.”
“In this day and age, you’re always trying to have a look before the game to see if you can gain some kind of advantage.”
Ryan replicated Mark Schwarzer’s shootout exploits after the dramatic win in 2005 over Uruguay that ended the nation's 32-year period without an appearance at a FIFA World Cup tournament.
The Albion man was just a boy when the former keeper also produced two penalty saves in that historic game in Sydney, and he admitted that he could never have imagined replicating that feat himself at a major tournament for his country.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be out here representing Australia, having been a young fan that night.
“A few of their takers mixed it up either side. You have to have a bit of luck at the end of the day with the side you choose to go or whether you stay in the middle.
“Thankfully twice they [the decisions] paid off.”