Socceroo’s great Asian Cup hope: ‘I genuinely believe’

Craig Goodwin spoke to the press ahead of the Socceroos' upcoming pre-AFC Asian Cup friendly against Bahrain

Craig Goodwin “genuinely” believes the Socceroos can win the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, where he feels Australia can achieve “something special”.

The Socceroos open their Asian Cup campaign against India on January 13 in Group B but before that, Graham Arnold’s side will face Bahrain in a pre-tournament friendly in Abu Dhabi on January 7.

Champions in 2015, the Socceroos reached the quarter-finals in 2019 but head into the tournament on the back of a memorable 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, where they featured in the round of 16.

Australia are also buoyed by recent performances against world champions Argentina (2-0 loss) and European juggernaut England (1-0 defeat).

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“I genuinely believe we have the squad to win the Asian Cup,” Goodwin said.

“It’s going to be hard and difficult but we have a good group with a good mentality. We have the potential to do something special here.”

Qatar evokes memories of the 2022 World Cup, where the Socceroos fell to eventual champions Argentina, who were headlined by superstar Lionel Messi.

The Asian Cup represents familiar surroundings, but Goodwin insisted the Socceroos cannot afford to dwell on the past.

“Qatar has been a happy place for myself and for us but it’s about coming in with a different mindset and mentality. Coming in with more hunger to do more great things here,” Goodwin – who is based in Saudi Arabia with Al Wehda – said.

“None of us can get caught up in the thought process that we’ve done well here in the past and that it’s going to come easy.

“We have aspirations to win the Asian Cup and to do that we have to have a ruthless mentality, and to be focused on what’s coming next.

“Although we’re very happy with what we’ve done here in the past, that is in the past and we’ve got the here and now to focus on to try to bring the Asian Cup back to Australia.”