Goodwin buoyant after Canberra brace, targeting further Socceroos action

Craig Goodwin put on a show in Canberra, recovering from illness to bag a brace against Lebanon as the Subway Socceroos won 5-0.

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The winger was one of Australia’s key attacking weapons - in addition to his two well-taken goals, his delivery into the box caused further problems for Lebanon's defence.

He said he was delighted to put in the performance he did after missing his side’s first tie with Lebanon last Thursday.

“It was a really good night for myself and, obviously, for us as a team to put in a decent performance and contribute to a lot of goals,” Goodwin said.

“For myself, really happy to be able to come in after missing last week.

“Whenever these windows come up, I want to be involved in every single game and play as much as I can. So to miss that one and watching at home on TV was a little bit hard to take but really happy I could make up for it tonight.”

The Socceroos opened the scoring within two minutes. Goodwin’s left-sided cross found Kusini Yengi, who bundled home from close range for his first senior national team goal.

Goodwin said the 25-year-old forward has a bright future ahead of him and was happy to share in the celebration with him for his maiden strike.

He also said he was pleased for another striker John Iredale, who also scored his first goal last night, highlighting the team’s eagerness to celebrate each other’s success.

“I set up Kass [Yengi] for his first goal in the A-League. I've set him up for his first Socceroos goal, and he said let's do your celebration. So it is mine. He stole it from me, but it's nice to share that moment with him.

“He's gone across to England and put in some really good performances there and he's starting to get the opportunity now at national team level,” Goodwin said.

Craig Goodwin: 'That' celebration was my idea

“As his game develops and he starts to play more games and get more consistency at that level, I think he's someone who has the potential to go very high in the game with the physical attributes that he has.

“You'll never be able to really recreate that moment scoring your first goal for your nation, For me, it was against Vietnam in Melbourne, and I had the same thing the same emotions that come over you because it's everything you dream of as a kid. To be able to score for your nation and for these boys to do that you are fulfilling a childhood dream so it's brilliant for him [Iredale].

“We are a tight-knit group.

“You can see every person ran over to Kass [Yengi] when he scored, every person ran over to Johnny [Iredale] when he scored and even boys are applauding when you know lads are coming on to make their debut with Patty [Yazbek] and Nizzie [Nisbet]. So it's a fantastic group that we have here and we're really proud when we can celebrate each other.”

Craig Goodwin's emphatic finish is our CUPRA Electric Moment of the Match

Australia added a further four goals in the second half, including Goodwin’s well-taken brace.

He said that a fast start to the second period and better ball retention were key to the team's success in beating their opponents.

“We did really well, knowing that perhaps they would come out in the second half to come out and try and press a bit higher,” Goodwin said.

“The biggest thing about it is you can see the intent straight when we come out from the first whistle and then from the restart as well.

“We score [the second goal] because of the intent of Dukie [Duke] and Kass [Yengi] in the pressing and the intensity we put in, and then from the free-kick [we scored].”

Goodwin said he enjoyed returning to play in Canberra in front of a record crowd for a football match in the capital.

“I think it's really important that we continue to hit different cities in Australia and I have been quite vocal on it recently. But it's fantastic that we've come to Canberra,” he said.

“Fantastic that we're going to Perth in a couple of months time, but I really hope that we can get to Adelaide, because it's been seven and a half years.

“I hope we can go there and pack out or get a big crowd for that one, because I'm sure it would be a great atmosphere again.”

Craig Goodwin completes his brace

Goodwin also spoke about his own future with the Socceroos. The 32-year-old is still aspiring to make the 2026 World Cup.

He said he has been suffering with consistent injuries, playing through the pain over the past few years, which has seen him tune his focus recently.

“I was hoping at the beginning of this season to be able to get a good preseason under my belt and sort that out and get a good foundation,” Goodwin said.

“Unfortunately, I had the deal to Saudi and after having hernia surgery I was playing again within one month so you know I haven't been able to over the last two three years put myself in the best physical condition throughout the season.

“I'm taking a lot of action away from the field and trying to give myself the best possible chance to be here longer because I feel performance-wise and ability-wise and physically at times when I am feeling good, I feel I'm in my prime and I feel I have too much to give to be able to walk away just now.

“I have had the conversation but that is definitely driving me and whether I get there or not [the World Cup], we'll see in a few years time but right now the the motivation is to get my body right to make sure I'm in a good physical condition so I can put in more performance just like I did tonight.”

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