Ahead of the upcoming qualifying matches against Bangladesh and Palestine, Subway Socceroo Craig Goodwin mulls over his time with the Australian national team.
Goodwin has been part of some of the most pivotal moments in recent Socceroos history, including the critical World Cup qualifying playoff matches against United Arab Emirates and Peru, and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ which saw Australia’s mens side record their highest-ever finish.
Beyond this, in recent months, the talismanic winger has been involved in friendlies against the likes of Ecuador and facing a top-five nation in England, going down narrowly to the Three Lions last mont in Australia’s first game at Wembley.
Looking forward to the upcoming competitive matches and overall qualifying campaign, Goodwin spoke of the importance of playing that tough, world-class opposition to build the side up for a gruelling journey to the FIFA World Cup 2026™.
“I think it gives us a lot of confidence with the type of opposition we’ve been playing,” he said.
“We’re not just playing against some good teams, we’re playing against the best teams in the world, you know, at the World Cup and having such a good performance there.
“And then also, playing (in friendlies) against teams like Argentina, Mexico and England - teams inside the top 10/15 nations in world football.
“I think we’re putting in good performances, but it’s about translating those good performances into results.”
What has allowed Australia to be so competitive at the highest level of international football, beyond the potent performances from players like Goodwin, has been the culture and the winning mentality instilled by Graham Arnold and the coaching staff.
“I think you can definitely see the kind of culture he’s (Arnold) created around this group, and the belief,” said Goodwin.
“Whenever we go into any game, it doesn’t matter who it’s against, you can see the ambition that he has and the culture that he’s created.
“It’s not about coming up against these top nations and just trying to do well, it’s trying to win every single game and really take it to the opposition.
“I think that ambition and that confidence rubs off on the group.
“And we know as well that, as a group, our strongest asset is our togetherness and how hard we work for each other.
“For me, that definitely stems from the coach and the coaching staff, setting the morals and the culture around the nation.”
With World Cup qualification set to begin next Thursday, the Socceroos will need to be using every ounce of that positive, winning mentality Arnold has created as Australia look to secure their sixth consecutive appearance in football’s greatest tournament.
But ahead of the new campaign, Goodwin took a chance to reflect on his favourite memories in qualification with the Green and Gold.
“I think for me, besides 2005 Uruguay, personally it’s the Peru game and being involved in that penalty shootout and the emotions and highs and lows that went with it,” he recalled.
“We were in a position where we could lose it and then win it and riding every kick of the ball, but after your penalty you’re helpless and just relying on your teammates.
“That match was incredible to be a part of and something that I’ll remember forever.”
The Socceroos will begin their campaign on Thursday, 16 November against Bangladesh, playing in Melbourne at AAMI Park, a stadium which Goodwin knows all too well.
The winger made his A-League Men debut at that ground, scored his first goal for Australia there and all up has netted seven goals in the A-League Men at AAMI; his beloved Coopers Stadium is the only venue Goodwin has scored more at.
“I would call it a bit of a love affair with AAMI Park, it’s where I made my debut in the A-League and it’s where I scored my first international goal,” he said.
“It’s definitely a stadium I really enjoy playing at and there’s a lot of sentimental value for me.
“But I think that comes from the crowd as well, that always turns up to AAMI Park whenever we’re playing an international game.
“The support that comes from the Melbourne fanbase is fantastic.”
That excellent support will be on full display that night when the Socceroos host Bangladesh in their first match of the second round of World Cup Qualifiers.
Match Details - FIFA World Cup 2026™ Second Round Asian Qualifiers
Australia v Bangladesh
Thursday, 16 November
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 8.00pm AEDT
Tickets: PURCHASE HERE
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+
Palestine v Australia
Tuesday, 21 November
Jaber Al-Ahmed International Stadium, Kuwait
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+