Monday, December 4, 2023

Palestine v Australia: 2026 World Cup qualifier – live

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Protests ‘planned after 7 and 75 minutes’

This is from our liveblog on the Israel-Hamas war

The Palestine football team were due to be playing their first home game since 2019 in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Because of the war, it has been moved to Kuwait. They face Australia in a qualifying match for the 2026 World Cup.

Fans attending the match are expected to stage protests against Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. Earlier Al Jazeera reported that “at seven minutes into the match, fans will raise Palestinian flags and wave keffiyehs to mark the start of the war on 7 October [the date of the Hamas attack inside Israel]. Thirteen minutes into the match, fans will stand and turn their backs on the pitch to protest the killing of more than 13,000 people since the start of the attacks. On 75 minutes, fans will raise their arms and join hands in protest against 75 years of occupation.”

It also reported that at another signal, fans will be raising keys during the match, to “symbolise those taken by the Palestinians when they locked their doors and fled during the Nakba”.

The Socceroos’ players will denote a five-figure sum, taken from their match fees for this game, to Oxfam.

Football Australia will also match the donation.

Some of the Palestine players remain in Gaza. Those who travelled to Kuwait via a training camp in Jordan are preoccupied with the safety of their loved one. The Palestine coach Makram Daboub has been discussing the extraordinary circumstances in which this match will take place.

Team news: four changes for Socceroos

Palestine make two changes from their draw with Lebanon. Mohammed Rashid and Zaid Qunbar replace Mohammed Yaheen and Chihadeh Saleh.

The Socceroos bring in Ryan Strain, Kye Rowles, Aziz Behich and Martin Boyle for Lewis Miller, Cameron Burgess, Jordan Bos and Brandon Borrello. They’re all among the substitutes.

Palestine (possible 4-3-3) Hamadi; Al-Battat, Termanini, Saleh, Saldaña; Rashid, Jaber, Abu Warda; Seyam, Qunbar, Dabbagh.
Substitutes: tbc

Australia (possible 4-2-3-1) Ryan; Strain, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; Baccus, Irvine; Metcalfe, Boyle, Goodwin; Duke.
Substitutes: Burgess, Bos, Silvera, Maclaren, Yengi, Borrello, Gauci, Circati, O’Neill, Maynard-Brewer, Miller, Luongo.

📋 Graham Arnold makes four changes from our last match against Bangladesh.

Ryan Strain, Kye Rowles, Aziz Behich and Martin Boyle all return to the Starting XI.

🇵🇸 v 🇦🇺 – 22.11.23 – 1:00am AEDT
📱💻📺 Live on Channel 10, Paramount+, 10 Play#PLEvAUS #Socceroos

— Subway Socceroos (@Socceroos) November 21, 2023


Hello and welcome to live, minute-by-minute coverage of the World Cup qualifier between Palestine and Australia. The Socceroos have played almost 600 ‘A’ internationals, but they’ve never had a game quite like this.

The war in Gaza puts this game in a unique context. The match was originally scheduled to be played in Ramallah in the West Bank – it would have been Palestine’s first home game since 2019 – before being moved for security reasons. Palestine’s first scheduled home game since the outbreak of war will instead be played at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.

It’s their second World Cup qualifier, following a goalless draw with Lebanon on Thursday. The Socceroos started their campaign by beating Bangladesh 7-0 in Melbourne, with the substitute Jamie Maclaren scoring a second-half hat-trick. Palestine, the highest ranked opponent in this group, will be a tougher challenge, though it will still be a major surprise if Australia don’t win.

“What we do have control over is our performance and playing against Palestine and going out and getting the job done for Australia,” said the Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, who described the war as “horrific” after Thursday’s game. “We’re very sympathetic for everyone with what’s going on, but again, it’s a game of football and that brings a lot of joy to everybody.”

Kick off 5pm local time, 1am AEDT, 2pm GMT.

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