Preview: Singapore vs. Palestine (2022 World Cup Qualifier)

What: 2022 FIFA World Cup/2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying
When: September 10th, 2019
Where: Jalan Besar Stadium, Kallang, Singapore
Kickoff: 14:45 Jerusalem
Streams/TV: Streamed live on our site 

Previous Encounters

19.10.2003 // Singapore 2:0 Palestine (2004 ACQ)
23.10.2003 // Singapore 0:0 Palestine (2004 ACQ)
01.03.2006 // Palestine 1:0 Singapore (2006 WCQ)
08.10.2007 // Palestine 0:4 Singapore (2010 WCQ)

Back to Work

After an emotionally and physically draining win against Uzbekistan, Al-Fida’i look to build on the momentum with another three points. In their path is Singapore- a side who have historically enjoyed a good deal of success against Palestine. Palestine have won only one out of the four previous encounters and two meetings- an Asian Cup and World Cup qualifier- were scrapped by the AFC after Palestine was prevented from traveling by the Israeli occupation. 
It is important to note that the national team of a generation ago is radically different from the one that plays today. When these two teams last meant Palestine had a meager 11 wins (11W-15D-33L) to their name over the first nine years of their existence. In many ways that 4-0 loss against a rudderless team without a manager and shorn of many of its best players was rock bottom for Palestine. The national team would follow up the loss to Singapore with an absolutely shambolic five year period that culminated with a 7-0 hammering at the hands of Iran. 
When Jamal Mahmoud took the reins in late 2011 the team was saved and Asian Cup qualification in 2014 set the team on a completely different course. 
Thursday’s win against Uzbekistan is one that will finally get Asia to stand up and take notice. This current crop of players have been with the senior team since the start of the last qualifying cycle and although the team reached 73 in the FIFA rankings it lacked a signature win against a quality opponent. 
Come the Asian Cup, teams that made it out of the group stage with one win (Palestine had two draws) received the plaudits. As a result, pundits were predicting Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam to crash the party (both failed to win their opening matches). 
No one- not even their fans- gave Palestine a chance against one of the elite teams from Asia. So there was an outburst of emotion when the improbable happened. Now, the team must regroup in order to handle the challenge of playing away to the strongest 5th seeded team in qualifying. 

Rejuvenated Singapore 

In Singapore’s competitive debut under Japanese manager, Tatsuma Yoshida, the Lions showed a new found confidence in possession. In the first half an hour of their match against Yemen- the Singaporeans were utterly dominant. They pinned Yemen back and with fullbacks overlapping there was often a line of four players in attack. 
If not for a couple of amazing saves from Salem Saeed and a profligacy in front of goal the game would have been dead and buried inside the first quarter of the hour. Instead, Singapore needed nearly 30 minutes to find the opener and then conceded twice to a Yemeni team who was satisfied to attack with three players throughout the game. 
While Singapore have scored in each of their three games under Yoshida they have also conceded in every game. Their record under the 45 year old stands at 1-1-1 seven goals scored and seven conceded. 
Palestine will need to be just as defensively resolute as they were against Uzbekistan in order to neutralize Singapore in attack. That said, the team should be given license to attack because Singapore has shown an inability to neutralize opposing teams with Solomon Islands, Myanmar, and Yemen have each found a way to score twice against the Lions. 


The big news in the lead up to the match is the inclusion of Kalmar FF’s Mahmoud Eid to the traveling contingent. From the picture put out by the PFA several fringe players have not made the trip alongside Khaled Salem. Ahmed Zreiqi, Mousa Saleem, Waleed Qombor, Haitham Khairallah,  and Ahmed Abu Khadijah are also absent. 
With 90 minutes of play and two flights under the legs of many of the players this might be an opportunity to rotate some players in. Saleh Chihadeh has been sent back to Switzerland as part of an agreement with FC Thun, the striker who is still working his way back to full fitness, will continue his recovery with the club.

The inclusion of Mahmoud Eid is not like-for-like but will most likely mean that Oday Dabbagh plays as a striker at some point during the game. It is interesting that Ould Ali chose to call up Eid when he was short a striker as opposed to Yashir Islame who could have hopped over the Johor straits to join the team.

One name that could be held out with an eye to the Saudi Arabia game next month is Mohammed Darweesh who is on a yellow card. Mahmoud Wadi is in the same position and could have his game time limited as result. 

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