Craig Goodwin was overcome with pure emotion after scoring his first goal for the Socceroos in a crucial 4-0 win over Vietnam at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Thursday night.
Goodwin made an instant contribution off the bench – with a goal and an assist to keep Australia’s hopes for automatic qualification to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ on track.
The Adelaide United winger was introduced to action in the 66th minute and found the net in audacious fashion six minutes later with a sumptuous chip over the Vietnam goalkeeper following a route one pass from Mat Ryan.
Moments later he then played a square pass to former Red Riley McGree, who shifted the ball onto his right foot and arrowed a brilliant effort into the bottom corner to make it four goals to the good.
The 30-year-old was visibly emotional as he celebrated scoring his maiden goal on his sixth cap for the Socceroos.
His pre-season was one of rehabilitation after suffering a syndesmosis injury prior to United’s elimination final against Brisbane Roar last year and endured a few interruptions along the way.
“Very rewarding kind of lost for words to be honest,” Goodwin told Network 10 after the match.
“But I think for me personally, obviously it’s a great moment, but there’s a lot of emotion that goes into it after the back end of last year being injured and trying to work myself back into form.
“… It’s a very rewarding feeling for me and probably for my family as well.”
As Goodwin ran off in celebration he pointed to the sky honouring the people close to his heart that are longer with him and collapsed on his knees.
“I guess my point to the sky started with my grandma but now there’s been multiple people that have passed in my life and it’s a tribute to them,” he explained.
Goodwin has been in scintillating form this past month for the Reds, scoring six goals in his previous five starts across all competitions.
Since returning to Adelaide on loan in February 2021, Goodwin has been simply sensational, and believes his decision to come home after a spell in Saudi Arabia has been justified.
In that time, he has scored at a prolific rate with 14 goals in 28 games for the Club.
“Originally the decision was for family reasons,” he admitted.
“My partner Katelyn was pregnant with our now son Ezra and it was a decision to come back and be in a comfortable setting with family support and right now it’s working.”
Goodwin also discussed the importance of producing a dominant display to build confidence for its remaining three qualifiers.
“All credit to Vietnam,” he said.
“Second-half they really came out and had some chances.
“But in the end, I think overall good performance from us, we took chances when we had to.
“And overall it was what we needed to win by a few goals gives us confidence and we have to do the same to Oman.”
Australia face Oman in Muscat on Wednesday morning.