Craig Goodwin was greeted by a hero’s welcome at Adelaide Airport as he returned to his hometown following an impressive FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ campaign with the Socceroos.
Fans flocked the airport, eager to show their appreciation for the 30-year-old with some lucky enough to get signatures and take photos with the Reds star.
Goodwin received plaudits for his strong performances, featuring in all four matches while starting all three Group Stage matches.
He thanked fans for their unwavering support back home having seen the fantastic scenes around the country, while in Doha.
“When we were there in camp, we could see all the footage of all the people back home supporting us and some of the amazing scenes,” Goodwin said at an Adelaide United press conference on Wednesday.
“So we could feel the support from over there, but it's a bit different when you get back here and you actually face it firsthand.
“It was really nice to have the support of the South Australian community getting off the plane and it was a really nice touch."
Goodwin became the seventh Australian to score at the FIFA World Cup after his close-range opener against France.
He would also be involved in a further two of Australia’s goals at the tournament.
The winger’s deflected cross set up Mitch Duke’s brilliant header in the 1-0 win over Tunisia, before seeing his shot against Argentina in the Round of 16 ricochet off Enzo Fernandez, which ultimately was credited as an own goal.
Despite falling short against Argentina, Goodwin said the overall experience was thoroughly enjoyable, and sharing the pitch with Lionel Messi was amazing.
“Obviously, the result didn't go the way that we wanted, but to share the pitch with one of the all-time greats, if not the greatest to whoever grace the game was very special,” the 14-time capped Socceroo said.
“It was amazing, the whole experience of the World Cup.
“To play against some top-class players and to know that we matched it with them and do the country proud is the biggest thing.”
But prior to being named in the 26-man squad for the major tournament, Goodwin admitted he doubted if he would be fit in time after missing the entire pre-season due to dealing with osteitis pubis.
“I was injured the whole of the offseason, and after playing my part in the Peru game, I had to face the injury with the OP and try and battle my way through that and trying to get fit.
“And there were definitely parts along the way, where I was thinking, I’ve probably left it too late here, I'm going to struggle to make the squad.”
Though fortunately, Goodwin had overcome the issue in time for Round 1 of the A-League Men’s season and hit the ground running with three goals and five assists in six games to punch a ticket to Qatar.
The rest as they is history.
“So to start the season the way I did, and then to be involved in the squad and to have the impact that I was able to have there at the World Cup was, you know, really, really amazing feeling,” he continued.
“Especially that first game against France scoring the first goal within nine minutes was obviously a very proud moment for myself.”
The United captain is hoping to play in Adelaide's Friday night clash against Brisbane Roar.