One Year On | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Craig Goodwin’s road to recovery

Goodwin pushed through the pain to compete on the world stage.

Ruled out

Every athlete has pushed through pain to continue playing the sport they love. But rarely would those injuries potentially stop you from representing your country at a World Cup.

That was the dilemma facing Socceroos star Craig Goodwin just months out from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

You see, he had developed Osteitis Pubis (an inflammation of the pubic symphysis and surrounding muscle insertions) and had been playing through the pain until it got too much.

“For pretty much the whole second half of the season (2021/22 season), I had developed Osteitis Pubis and was just not really sure what it was yet. I was being able to get through it with you know, painkillers and stuff,” Goodwin said.

In Australia’s World Cup AFC Qualification playoffs, Goodwin started and played 72 minutes against the UAE and came on in extra time against Peru.

Craig Goodwin wasn't going to be stopped!


But after the Socceroos defeated Peru on penalties to progress to the World Cup Finals, his injury forced him to stop playing and jeopardised his chances of going to the tournament.

“So, I was playing on it for the majority of that time and then basically, once that Peru game finished, I didn't put my boots on or kick a ball until a week out from the A-League season,” he said.

“There were quite a few times along that path that I was thinking, you know, probably left this a little bit too late to start playing games and it actually impacted the way that I need to be involved in the World Cup squad.”

Devlin, Cummings & Goodwin REACT to FIFA World Cup call-ups


Pushing for selection

For Goodwin, the priority over the four or so months between the Peru match and the World Cup starting was to get in good physical condition.

“I worked very hard with the medical team at Adelaide and the coaches and obviously the medical team with the Socceroos and we developed a good plan.

“Thankfully, it was able to get me into a good position to start playing games, I did feel under done at the beginning of the season, but as the games went on, felt more and more comfortable and physically better and was able to perform at a good standard and by the time I got to the World Cup was in good physical condition.”

It wasn’t an easy period in Goodwin’s life though as he described the dread, he felt on the possibility of not being ready in time.

“There were some stressful moments along the way, thinking, ‘what if I miss out on this opportunity’,” he said.

“So, it was definitely a stressful time, but in the end, it made the whole tournament even better for me.”

The reward

As well all know, Goodwin was a key player for the Socceroos at the World Cup as he played in every match, scored against France, picked up an assist in the Tunisia match and provided the shot that was defected into the Argentina net.

Speaking on the goal against France, which shocked the world, Goodwin said: “It was an incredible moment when the ball hit the net”.

“The emotion that comes out, it's not just the emotion of that moment, it's everything that has led to that moment, not only in the overcoming the injuries to make the squad, but your whole career,” he added.

He said those are the moments you live for as a player. Something you could only ever dream of.

“In those moments, you're just that little boy that's in your backyard, you know, kicking a ball around and dreaming of those moments,” he said.

“So, to be able to do it on the world stage and then to have my family there and in the stands and seeing them jumping around was a really special moment.”

Fair to say Craig Goodwin earned that moment too, after pushing himself through the injury rehabilitation and making the squad.

But also proving to the doubters that a player who has spent the half of their career in the A-Leagues is good enough to compete on a world stage.

Goodwin truly represented what it means to be a Socceroo, both before the tournament and during the tournament. Played, Craig. 

Craig Goodwin reflects on the FIFA World Cup