Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has stressed his side will do their very best to stay focused on the job at hand against Palestine during their World Cup qualifier on Wednesday morning (AEDT) with the backdrop of the devastating Israel-Hamas war looming large.
The Asian second-round Group I clash will be played in neutral territory in Kuwait, but much of the focus in the build-up will inescapably surround the battle that is raging in the Gaza Strip.
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Arnold hopes Australia’s match against Palestine will serve as a brief, but welcome, distraction for that part of the world.
“It’s horrific what’s going on over there at the moment, but I don’t think we have any control over that,” Arnold said after his team’s 7-0 thumping of Bangladesh on Thursday night.
“What we do have control over is our performance and playing against Palestine and going out and getting the job done for Australia.
“With everything that’s going on in the Middle East at the moment, it’s been quite stressful for me and just making sure that everything is great (regarding preparation).
“Obviously 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 echoed Arnold’s sentiments in that the players had to maintain a professional approach to the match, while the war that is impacting their opponents rages on.
“We know what’s going on from both sides is horrendous,” he said.
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