Socceroos vs. Palestine match moved to Kuwait

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
09/11/2023
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The Socceroos will play Palestine in Kuwait on Tuesday, 21 November.

Football Australia have confirmed the Socceroos World Cup Qualifier against Palestine will be played at a neutral site. It will be played in Kuwait. 

News Insights

  • Australia’s World Cup Qualifier against Palestine has been moved to Kuwait.
  • “Devastating circumstances in Gaza” forced move.
  • The match was previously going to be played in the West Bank.
  • Australia should have no problem qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Football Australia and the Asian Football Confederation have just confirmed that the Socceroos upcoming Asian World Cup Qualifier match against Palestine on 21 November has been moved to a neutral site. The ongoing conflict in Israel made Palestine hosting Australia untenable. The match will now be played at the Jaber Al-Ahmed International Stadium in Kuwait.  

“Devastating circumstances in Gaza” forced move 

One of the lesser consequences of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas is its impacts on the world of soccer. The Palestine national team plays its home matches in the West Bank, but the ongoing conflict has made even playing there basically impossible. Because of this, the AFC, Palestine, and their opponents needed to find a solution.  
 
Football Australia chief executive, James Johnson, said the Socceroos and AFC had been in consultation immediately following the outbreak of the conflict on October 7. “Prior to the devastating circumstances in Gaza,” as Johnson described it, the match was set to be played at the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium in the West Bank.  
 
The match will now take place on 21 November at the Jaber Al-Ahmed International Stadium in Kuwait. However, things are not completely settled as safety concerns are still a major issue, even playing in Kuwait. 
 
We’re putting in place all the right security measures to ensure the players are safe, but also feel comfortable going there,” said Johnson. 

More than a football match for Palestine 

While Australia will be focused on their upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign, the Palestine national team players will be focused on much more serious issues. We do not need to explain why. 
 
Al Jazeera reported this week that Palestinian players were forced to leave the country indefinitely via Jordan last week. A member of their medical staff even nearly lost his life in the conflict.  
 
Mahmoud Wadi, arguably Palestine’s most high-profile player, spoke in heart breaking fashion about the currency situation in Gaza and the state of Palestinian football right now. The match against Australia will be an opportunity to forget about all that and put their best foot forward on the international stage. “It's our responsibility to try and represent Palestine the best we can,” said Wadi. 

Qualification a lock for Australia

Putting the emotions of the match aside, this match gives the Socceroos a chance to get a strong start on their World Cup qualifying.  
 
The Palestine match will be Australia’s second match of the 2026 World Cup qualifying cycle. They will play Bangladesh at AAMI Park five days before they take on Palestine. Both these matches are very winnable for the Socceroos.  
 
Football Australia will announce the Socceroos squad for both these upcoming matches in the coming days. With the competition being relatively lightweight, Australia manager, Graham Arnold, may use these fixtures to try out some young talent.  
 
Lebanon is the fourth team in Australia’s qualifying group. Should Australia qualify from the group, they will advance to the third round and play against other teams who have advanced from the second round.  

The Socceroos are virtual locks to qualify from the AFC thanks to the expanded World Cup format in 2026. Most betting sites are offering even odds for them to qualify or no odds at all. Many  Australian betting sites are already offering Socceroos World Cup bets and ignoring qualification altogether.