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Palestinian national team advances to 3rd round of World Cup qualifiers

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The Palestinian national football team has secured a place in the third round of World Cup qualifications for the first time in history.

With a record of two wins, two draws, and one loss, Palestine currently holds second place in Group I, which includes formidable opponents such as Australia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh.

Following a crucial draw with Lebanon, Palestine sits comfortably five points ahead of their neighbors, with only one game remaining against Australia. Regardless of the outcome of this final match, Palestine has guaranteed its spot in the next qualification round.

The upcoming third round will feature 18 nations divided into three groups of six. The top two teams from each group will earn a place in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, while the teams finishing third and fourth will progress to the fourth round, keeping their World Cup hopes alive.

Palestine’s advancement to the third round also ensures their fourth consecutive appearance in the AFC Asian Cup finals, set to be hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2027. Earlier this year, the Palestinian team made history by reaching the knockout phase of the Asian Cup for the first time, adding to their growing list of accomplishments on the international stage.

Due to ongoing security concerns, Palestine has been playing their home games in Qatar. Despite these challenges, the team’s success has been a source of immense pride and a significant boost to Palestinian identity and aspirations for sovereignty.

As the 2026 World Cup, hosted by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, approaches, Palestine’s potential qualification would place them among the elite teams on the global stage.

In the broader context, FIFA is planning to seek independent legal advice before holding an extraordinary council meeting by July 20.

This meeting will address a Palestinian proposal to suspend Israel from international football, following the International Court of Justice’s suggestion that it is “plausible” Tel Aviv has committed acts violating the Genocide Convention. This potential suspension could have far-reaching implications for the international football community and the political landscape surrounding the sport.

Palestine’s footballing achievements underscore the nation’s resilience and determination, providing a powerful narrative of hope and progress in their quest for international recognition and self-determination.

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