'I was never worried' Goodwin on his penalty preparations prior to Peru victory

The successful decision to replace goalkeepers minutes before a crucial play-off penalty shootout stole many of the headlines, from a famous night in Doha.

However, the group of Socceroos tasked with converting their own spot-kicks, also remained composed on Tuesday night, with Craig Goodwin under immense pressure, having been introduced to the game only moments before.

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Having arrived back in Australia after a week of celebration and reflection, Socceroos midfielder Craig Goodwin spoke on what factors culminated in Australia emerging successful in their qualifying play-off against Peru. He also discussed the long-term plans of the side, for before and after the upcoming FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar.

The Adelaide United star had become synonymous within the A-League Men's competition, for remaining for turning games at important stages of a match, often proving the difference with his trademark free-kicks or darting runs through on the left side of the park.

Despite this, the 30-year-old would never have conditioned himself to the enormity of Tuesday morning's qualifier against Peru, where Socceroos coach Graham Arnold signalled to the bench, late in extra-time, with Goodwin to be introduced as one of two shootout specialists, along with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

"I have seen instances where players have come on late just to take a penalty, and in that situation they miss." 

"But for me, we had practiced it a lot during the week before, in training and in the build up to the match, I knew it was just about focusing on the contact, trying to hit it as hard as I could."

Possibly, the most unique role of any player in football, the penalty specialist is commonly involved in just one action across their entire time on the pitch, which is striking the ball from 12 yards, as their entire team watches from the halfway line.

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Many have raised doubts over the tactic, with players getting minimal time to adjust to the intensity of the game, before being tasked with such a large responsibility. Goodwin however, had no doubts, crediting the work down behind the scenes, in getting the South Australian mentally ready, for such a monumental moment in his career.

"I only had two touches before the shootout, but I was never worried."

 "Graham told me that I'd be coming on for penalties before the game, and then with about 10 minutes to go. I spoke to him during the week and he told me his plan for if the game went past extra time, he said ‘I'll bring you on late for the shootout'."

With Peru flawless in their first two spot-kicks, it was vital that Goodwin tucked home his penalty, to keep the Socceroos within one goal of their South American opponents. Never fazed by the occasion, the Reds star took control, confidently blasting the ball to the right, high into the net, away from the outstretched dive of Peruvian keeper Pedro Gallese.


The shootout was filled with mind games from both sides, with Andrew Redmayne notably performing his Grey Wiggle routine en-route to victory, while also sneakily removing the water bottle of his opposite Gallese, where the keeper's penalty tactics had been taped on. Craig Goodwin outlined the benefit of having a character such as Redmayne in goals, for a stage of the game where the mentality of the player proves to be the difference.

"I'm just glad he was on my team. I have taken a few penalties against Redders in the A-League, so I know he is a difficult person to take penalties against,"

"I had no idea about the bottle incident until afterwards, that's when we found out it happened. I mean, it's obviously good tactics from him, if you get that chance to take the advantage away from the other keeper, it's useful. But I am just happy to see him contribute to such an amazing run that we have been on."

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What many may have overlooked, due to the theatrics of Redmayne's efforts, was the tactics of the Peruvian keeper, who continually slowed down the attempts of the Australian players, in the attempt to create doubt within the minds of the Socceroos tasked with scoring against him.

"I think it's all still part of the game, a big part of creating those mind games is trying to delay the next kick, trying to make the kicker second guess what he's going to do,"

"It was a tactic, and it may have worked. But I was confident, I always knew that I would try to just go high to the right side."

Heading into a fifth straight FIFA World Cup campaign, Goodwin believes that the adversity of an extended qualifying campaign involving COVID bubbles and play-offs have brought their team closer together, making the achievement of qualification, even better.

"I think things are always sweeter when it never comes easy, so we've done it the hard way, it's a really massive moment for us, and to be able to share with all Australian supporters is great."

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