Ryan credits ‘great collective effort’ in tough Palestine win

Subway Socceroos captain Mathew Ryan says the team’s commitment in Kuwait on Wednesday played a deciding factor in maintaining Australia’s perfect start to FIFA World Cup 2026™ qualifying.

Australia battled to a 1-0 victory over a well-drilled Palestine outfit on Wednesday morning (AEDT) as Ryan secured his 29th clean sheet for his country.

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Graham Arnold’s men were put under pressure throughout the game with defender Harry Souttar snatching the points, scoring the winner in the first half.

SAVE: Ryan brilliance keeps out equaliser | Palestine v Australia

Ryan explained that Palestine gave the side the tough test they expected, and the match offered valuable lessons for the playing group.

“With every football game, challenges are there to overcome and it was no different tonight,” he said.

“We knew we were going to be facing a spirited side with a lot going on in the world at the minute.

“It was a bit difficult out there tonight, but we’re going to be facing much worse than that in our campaign.

“It was a good eye-opener for everyone - a good experience and a lot of boys were exposed to what these sorts of games are about and what this journey is about qualifying for a World Cup.”

With little between the teams, Australia would have gone into halftime level if it wasn’t for a top-draw save from Ryan in stoppage time.

A corner dropped to Palestinian frontman Tamer Seyam, who was facing a tap-in, but Ryan flew across his goal and got a strong hand on the shot to keep his clean sheet intact.

Despite that heroic moment from the captain, Ryan was eager to heap praise on the rest of the team for their performance throughout the match.

“I just tried to use my instincts in the moment, and the ball was there - I did my best to get across and put myself between the goal and the opposition player, and thankfully it came off,” he said.

“There are other pivotal moments within the game that decided it. The guys were there putting in last-ditch tackles and being there when called upon, so it’s a great collective effort to get the clean sheet and, most importantly, the win.

“I try and prepare every game for a clean sheet. Arnie [Graham Arnold] taught me from a very young age when I was at the [Central Coast] Mariners - you keep a clean sheet, and worst case scenario, you draw the game 0-0.”

Ryan also expressed his gratitude to the Socceroos’ fans who made the trip to Kuwait to support the team.

“It was nice to see a couple of green and gold shirts out there tonight,” he said.

“The support is everything. When we play at home, when we play away, when we play anywhere, the impact that fans have on football is paramount. Without them, we had a taste of that with COVID, and it’s just not the same.

“They bring the emotion, they bring the atmosphere. They bring the meaning to football, and it was nice we had a handful out there and tried to give our thanks by going over there and acknowledging them.”

The Palestine win rounds out an excellent November window for the Socceroos, starting their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with two wins from two.

The Socceroos won’t be in action until January, when they prepare to compete for the Asian Cup in Qatar. 

Palestine v Australia | Highlights | 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier