- Socceroos next play Palestine in Kuwait on November 22
- Graham Arnold’s men outclassed Bangladesh 7-0 in Melbourne
- Was an impressive start to their World Cup qualifying campaign
The Socceroos are determined to remain focused on their football as they prepare to face Palestine in a World Cup qualifier set against the backdrop of conflict in the Middle East.
After thrashing Bangladesh 7-0 at Melbourne’s AAMI Park in their opening qualifying match on Thursday night to take early control of Group I, Australia will fly directly to Kuwait on Saturday for Tuesday’s game.
Lebanon and Palestine drew 0-0 in the other group match on Thursday to ensure Australia are already two points ahead at the top of a pool which has been thrown into disarray by the escalation in violence in the region.
Australia’s game against Palestine was originally going to be held in the West Bank, but was ultimately relocated to Kuwait for safety reasons.
‘It’s horrific what’s going on over there at the moment,’ coach Graham Arnold said.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has no doubt his team will be focused on football when Australia tackle Palestine in Kuwait on November 22
Star defender Harry Souttar also stressed the need to be professional in the World Cup qualifier
‘But I don’t think we have any control over that. ‘What we do have control over is our performance and playing against Palestine and going out and getting the job done for Australia.
‘We are 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.’
Defender Harry Souttar added: ‘We’ve got to be professional.
‘Obviously, we know kind of what’s going on for both sides. It’s horrendous.
‘I’m not going to give a political view, but all I can say is we will be going into that focusing on purely the game and nothing else.
‘We know that Palestine are going to be right up for it. We know that they’re going to be playing for a lot more than just football.
‘But we are there to get a result and get a job done. We will be professional and be going for the win.’
The Socceroos will enjoy a rest day on Friday before flying to Kuwait 24 hours later.
Australia ran out 7-0 winners versus Bangladesh on November 16 to get their World Cup qualification off to the perfect start
Jamie Maclaren finished with a hat-trick at AAMI Park for the typically goal-shy Socceroos
‘Football Australia have been fantastic and supportive,’ Arnold said.
‘We are getting a chartered flight which will chop off six hours of travel by being able to go directly from Melbourne instead of having to stop over in Doha or the UAE.
‘It gives the players two good nights’ sleep instead of just one.’
Arnold also flagged changes to his starting line-up.
He expected mainstays Jackson Irvine, Mitch Duke and Craig Goodwin to be fresh after being taken off against Bangladesh.
Martin Boyle, who skipped the trip to Melbourne with knee swelling, will also be available.