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Football: Australia wants to concentrate on the game before facing Palestine (coach)

The Socceroos enter this qualifying match for the 2026 World Cup which will take place on Tuesday in Kuwait, at the top of Group I after beating Bangladesh 7-0 on Wednesday in Melbourne.

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Football: Australia wants to concentrate on the game before facing Palestine (coach)

The Socceroos enter this qualifying match for the 2026 World Cup which will take place on Tuesday in Kuwait, at the top of Group I after beating Bangladesh 7-0 on Wednesday in Melbourne. Lebanon and Palestine drew 0-0 in the group's other match, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, also on Thursday.

The match between Australia and Palestine was originally scheduled to take place in the West Bank, but it was moved to Kuwait City due to the war. “With everything going on in the Middle East right now, it's pretty stressful for me and I have to make sure everything (the preparation) is perfect,” Arnold said. He called the conflict “horrible” but said his team needed to focus on football. “What we can control is our performance and playing against Palestine and doing the job for Australia,” he added. “Obviously we sympathize with everyone about what's going on, but again, it's a football game and it brings a lot of joy to everyone,” Arnold assured.

Leicester City defender Harry Souttar, who opened the scoring against Bangladesh, said the team had to be professional in Kuwait and put their emotions aside. “Obviously we know what’s happening on both sides, it’s horrible,” he told reporters. “I'm not going to speak out to give a political opinion, but all I can say is that we're going to focus on the match and nothing else,” stressed the 25-year-old. “We know that Palestine will be ready to fight. We know they are going to play for more than just football. But we are here to obtain a result and do the work,” he warned.

Australia are aiming for a sixth consecutive World Cup appearance, having reached the round of 16 in Qatar in 2022. A record eight direct berths and an intercontinental play-off place are at stake for teams from the Asian Confederation, divided into nine groups of four.

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