Socceroos narrowly defeat Palestine 1-0 in tricky World Cup qualifier

24/11/2023
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Socceroos defeat Palestine 1-0 in Kuwait City

Australia capped off the November international break with a narrow 1-0 victory over Palestine in a match that was forced to be played in Kuwait. 

News Insights

  • Australia faced off against Palestine on Tuesday night in Kuwait.
  • Socceroos’ lone goal came from a Harry Souttar header.
  • Australia will donate part of the proceeds from the match to humanitarian efforts in Gaza.
  • Australia’s next World Cup qualifier will be in June, 2024.

The Socceroos played against Palestine in an emotionally-charged match in Kuwait before thousands of Palestine-supporting fans. The Aussies came away from this fixture with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Harry Souttar headed goal in the 18th minute. Australia are now undefeated through two matches of Asian World Cup qualifying. 

Souttar goal makes the difference

With the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, it is easy to overlook Palestine’s footballing talent. The betting sites had Australia as just narrow favourites heading into this match. The action on the pitch proved the betting agencies’ predictions to be correct. Australia had just one more shot than Palestine and actually conceded two more corners.  

A Harry Souttar headed goal from a corner in the 18th minute ended up being the only thing that separated these two sides. Palestine had a chance to tie the match just before half time, but a fluffed chance by Palestine’s Ataa Jaber and a miraculous save by Maty Ryan on a Tamer Seyam shot kept the Socceroos on top.  
 
Australia nearly doubled their lead in the 64th minute following a bit of brilliant buildup featuring multiple one-touch passes. However, Palestine’s goalkeeper Rami Hamadeh got a hand on Brandon Borrello’s shot to end the action with a goal kick instead of a goal.  
 
The corner kick following Hamadeh’s save also nearly resulted in a goal for the Socceroos. Westerlo’s Aussie left back Jordan Bos found himself wide open in the box and sent a powerful header into the crossbar. If it was just inches lower, Australia would have doubled their lead.  
 
A second goal ultimately was not necessary for the Socceroos. The rest of the match was a relatively dull affair with just two shots coming from both teams in the final half an hour. Only one of those final four shots was on target. 

Australia to donate match proceeds to Gaza humanitarian efforts

Football Australia announced prior to the match against Palestine that a portion of proceeds earned from the match would be donated to the ongoing humanitarian efforts in Gaza. The donation will go to Oxfam and come from the players’ match fees. Football Australia has pledged to match any donation made by Socceroo players.  
 
The decision to make this generous donation reportedly came from the players. Jackson Irvine, one of the Socceroos star players and current PFA President, called the ongoing conflict in Gaza “unfathomable.” He further went on to say “I support any humanitarian cause,” which is something that was echoed by other PFA executives.  
 
"Aid agencies and humanitarian groups have been clear on the scale of need and the players were able to play a part. The Socceroos have long used their platform for positive impact and this is another example of their commitment to Australian football being a force for good,” said PFA co-chief executive Beau Busch.  

Australia’s next World Cup qualifier will see the Socceroos host Palestine in June, 2024. 

Australia is currently top of their World Cup qualifying group following their victories against Bangladesh and Palestine. The Socceroos are favourites at most soccer betting sites to finish the Asian World Cup qualifying cycle still on top of this group.  

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