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Palestine v Australia: 2026 World Cup qualifier – live

The Socceroos lead in Kuwait, thanks mainly to the head of Harry Souttar and the hands of Mat Ryan. They haven’t played well, particularly in open play, but they’re ahead.

45+1 min: Great save by Ryan! What a chance for Palestine. The corner was taken short to Al-Battat, who swung a cross towards the far post. It bounced off a Palestine player and back across goal towards Seyam, barely three yards out. He stabbed the bouncing ball towards goal and Ryan, who charged back across his line and threw himself at Seyam’s feet, somehow pushed the ball round the post. I’d like to see a replay but that looked like a seriously brilliant save.

45+1 min There will be two minutes of added time. Al-Battat charges down the cross and whips a cross that is shinned behind for a corner by Behich.

45 min Palestine have got two players marking Souttar now. But this time Goodwin’s corner evades him and is booted away at the near post.

43 min Metcalfe’s cross hits Saleh and goes behind for a corner. Harold Souttar Esq. is jogging forward.

42 min Palestine are definitely picking their moments to press. At some stage they will have to be more aggressive without the ball; for now it’s more important to stay within range of the Socceroos going into the last 20 minutes.

40 min Rashid lifts a promising pass to release Seyam on the right wing. He can’t quite catch up with the ball, though, and his cross goes behind for a goalkick.

37 min Baccus turns his man on the halfway line, in the inside-right channel, and lofts a lovely pass over the top towards Boyle. He heads the ball in to the area and tries to cut it back towards Duke, but Saleh makes a good block and the keeper Hamada beats Boyle to the loose ball.

36 min Miller breaks into the area from the right but is penalised for pulling back the defender.

33 min An excellent cross from Al-Battat is headed away decisively by Souttar. Moments later Qunbar tries to lob the ball over Souttar in the box; it hits him in the face and rebounds to safety.

33 min Palestine look a decent, organised side but they have struggled to score goals of late, with only one in the last seven hours. Apart from that earlier save, Mat Ryan hasn’t had much to do.

30 min That’s better from the Socceroos. Goodwin’s Harvard-educated left foot swings the ball beyond the far post, which Metcalfe meets with a cushioned volley on the run. The angle is tight and Hamada saves comfortably.

28 min I don’t know whether it’s the pitch, the selective intensity of the Palestine pressing or both, but Australia’s passing has been unusually sloppy in the first half hour.

25 min The goal has settled Australia down slightly, though it’s still a very scrappy game.

23 min: Socceroos substitution Lewis Miller replaces the unfortunate Ryan Strain at right-back.

21 min Ryan Strain is down and looks in serious pain. There was nobody near him when he went down – it looks like he twisted his groin after getting his foot stuck in the turf. Play continues while he is treated off the field.

20 min That goal came against the run of play, in truth, but that’s the value of set-piece goals. They occur almost in a vacuum.

Harry Souttar’s spectacular goalscoring run continues. Goodwin curled a superb inswinging corner to the near post, where Souttar was too strong for Saleh and headed in from five yards. That’s his 10th goal in only 21 appearances for the Socceroos.

17 min Palestine continue to look very comfortable. The Socceroos haven’t been able to find any attacking rhythm. Yet.

14 min There were reports of planned protests in the seventh and 13th minutes. It’s quite hard to see on TV whether the Palestinian fans have turned their backs on the game; nothing has been said on the TV commentary.

12 min Palestine have an excellent record in World Cup qualifiers at home (or on neutral territory), with 17 wins and no defeats in the last 21 games.

11 min Metcalfe has a go from 25 yards. It’s pretty well struck but too close to Hamada.

10 min Palestine have started confidently, pressing high when they can and attacking with ambition. Australia haven’t really settled.

7 min The corner is half cleared to Abu Warda, who hooks a shot onto the roof of the net from 22 yards. Ryan had it covered but it was a decent effort.

6 min: Good save by Ryan! The angle is tight but Seyam goes for goal with a nice left-footed curler. Ryan moves smartly to his left and dives to punch the ball behind for a corner.

5 min Ataa Jaber is fouled clumsily by Duke, just outside the area on the right. Seyam is over the ball…

2 min The match is underway, though I missed the first 90 seconds due to technical problems. Australia, in their away kit, are on the attack as I type.

Graham Arnold speaks

Full time: Bangladesh 1-1 Lebanon

The other game in Group I has finished level in Dhaka. That means a win tonight would put the Socceroos four points clear after two games. Here’s how the table looks:

  • Australia P1 Pts 3

  • Lebanon P2 Pts 2

  • Palestine P1 Pts 1

  • Bangladesh P2 Pts 1

Palestine goalkeeper Rami Hamada leads his team on to the pitch.

Protests ‘planned after 7, 13 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.

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, M Saleh, Saldaña; Rashid, Jaber, Abu Warda; Seyam, Qunbar, Dabbagh.
Substitutes: Kaddura, Naim Abuaker, Khalil, Hamed, Mahdi Issa, Farawi, Kharoub, Yamin, Batran, C Saleh, Hassan, Mahmoud Wadi.

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

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.

This post was originally published on this site

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