Lebanon coach Nikola Jurcevic lamented playing his team's first home match in 2026 World Cup qualifying outside the country but said the players were very focused for the game against Palestine in United Arab Emirates on Thursday.
The sides begin their challenge for a place in the next phase of Asia's 2026 World Cup preliminaries at a neutral venue due to the impact of the Israel-Hamas war.
"It is important for any team to play in front of their own fans because it gives additional strength, but we are facing special circumstances, and I do not want to talk about this matter or discuss it with the players because what is important is to focus on the way we play and achieve a positive result," Croatian Jurcevic said.
The match had been scheduled to be played in Beirut but Israel's response to the attack by Hamas on 7 October forced a switch of venues.
Lebanon and Palestine meet at the Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium before the Palestinians, who usually host games at Al-Ram's Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium on the West Bank, face Australia in Kuwait on 21 November.
Jurcevic said he was happy with the preparations.
"I see that the Lebanese national team players are in a state of high concentration and have exceptional enthusiasm for tomorrow’s match," he said.
This week's matches mark the start of the second phase of qualifiers for the expanded 48-team 2026 World Cup, when Asia will have eight guaranteed berths plus a possible ninth available through an intercontinental playoff.
The top two finishers in each of the nine groups advance to the third phase.Read on supersport.com