Australian Football Team Steps Up: Donating World Cup Qualifier to Aid Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
The Football Association of Australia will donate part of the cost of their World Cup qualifier against Palestine to humanitarian efforts in Gaza. Socceroos donations will be matched by Football Australia.
Australia coach Graham Arnold says preparations for next week's game on Tuesday are tense against the backdrop of the Israeli-Gaza conflict. The match was scheduled to take place in the West Bank, but officials moved to Kuwait.
More than 1,200 people have been killed in a series of attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel with about 240 hostages, while Gaza health authorities say more than 11,000 people have been killed. In the territory.
The Palestinians played their first game since the start of the conflict on Thursday in a 0-0 draw against Lebanon in Sharjah. The last time Palestine played at home was against Saudi Arabia in 2019. Arnold called the dispute "horrific" but stressed that his team must focus on football.
"With everything happening in the Middle East right now, it's really stressful for me and just making sure everything is great," he said. What we control is our game and the game with the Palestinians and go out and get a job for Australia. "Obviously we sympathize with everyone with what is happening, but again it is a football game that brings a lot of joy to everyone."
Australia, ranked 27th in the world and 4th in Asia in FIFA rankings, are top of the group in the quarterfinals. Qualifying after beating Bangladesh 7-0 on Thursday, Palestine ranked 96th in the world.
Leicester defender Harry Souttar, who opened the scoring for Australia against Bangladesh, said the team had to be professional in Kuwait and put their feelings aside.
" We know exactly what is happening for both sides. It is shocking. I will not stand here and give a political perspective, but all I can say is that we will go in there, focusing on pure competition and nothing else. "We know the Palestinians will be fit. We know they will play more than football . "