First official home game of the Palestinian national football team - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
Despite its eventual defeat more than 10.000 enthusiastic fans were satisfied with the performance of their team. They now hope this will result in even more home games.
The qualification game for the London 2012 Olympic Games against Thailand was the first official home game of the Palestinian national football team. As the result of a visit of Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to Ramallah and a return visit by Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Football Association and the National Olympic Committee the relations between the IOC and the Palestinians were greatly strengthened.
The financing of the Faisal Al-Husseini-Stadion, where the game took place, by the World Football Association FIFA also marked an important step towards normalising the Palestinian sport.
After the 1:0 defeat in the first game in Thailand, nothing was decided yet. The U23 team of Palestine, as it is called in IOC and FIFA, was the better team for most of the game, including during the extra time. Despite a dream goal by Abu Habeeb, the team showed deficits before the goal and during set pieces. After Thailand failed to equalize, the two teams had an aggregate score of 1:1 making the penalty shootout necessary. The 10.000 fans endured the unfriendly weather and continued to cheer for their team. But after all of the first five shooters from both teams hit the net, and the following both missed, the game was decided by the seventh penalty. The Thai team, unlike the Palestinians, made the goal and subsequently qualified themselves for the next round. But this did nothing to diminish the joy and satisfaction of the attending Palestinians, who witnessed a historic game for their team.
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