Craig Goodwin says the best way the Socceroos can respect the Palestinian soccer team is by playing as hard as possible in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Kuwait.
The clash was going to be held in the West Bank, but it had to be moved due to the escalation of violence in the region.
Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel’s southern region on October 7 was followed by Israel declaring war on the group and launching retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip.
The Socceroos have already announced they will donate a portion of their match fees towards humanitarian causes in Gaza.
Tuesday’s match is set to be an emotional affair for Palestinian players, and Goodwin said the Socceroos are well aware of the situation.
“We’re very understanding of the scenario and what’s transpiring, and it’s tragic,” Goodwin said.
“For us, we have to show them the respect by taking it as we would any other game.
“It’s a World Cup qualifier and we have to go into this game looking to win.
“The best thing about football and sport is it can be an outlet for people, to try and get them by from things happening outside in the world.
“For us, I hope this game can be an outlet for those people and hopefully bring some joy in a different aspect.”
Australia kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with an impressive 7-0 demolition of Bangladesh in Melbourne on Thursday.
Goodwin says the Socceroos are aiming to be consistently ruthless in their bid to become one of the best teams in the world.
“We definitely want to make a statement within every game we play and have that ruthlessness in front of goal,” he said.
“I do think this game will be very different to what we experienced with Bangladesh.
“We want to have that ruthlessness, but I think it’s going to be a lot more physical and there will be a lot more fight coming from the opposition in this match.
“I think it will be a very hostile environment for us, which we’re experienced about.”
The Socceroos will be boosted by the return of Martin Boyle, who missed the Bangladesh game due to a swollen knee.
Goodwin has been enjoying life in Saudi Arabia after joining Al-Wehda in September.
“This time it’s been an easier transition for me than the last time, in terms of the culture aspect and the living situation,” he said.
“On the pitch it’s been a decent start as well scoring five goals in eight games and we’re in a decent position on the table in ninth.
“I’m enjoying my time there playing against some of the best players in the world.”