Sports, Football

Booters’ opportunity to prove themselves in big stage

Published : 21 Oct 2023 09:08 PM | Updated : 21 Oct 2023 09:08 PM

Bangladesh national football team will play six more games (home and away) in Group- I for the Asian qualifying Round 2 of the FIFA World Cup 2026. The men in Red and Green will take on the mighty Australia, Palestine and Lebanon. 

Javier Cabrera’s pupils will start their campaign with the first match against Australia at AAMI Park in Perth on November 16. They then will confront Lebanon on November 21 and 20th March 2024 will play against West Asian war torn country Palestine.

However, the away game against Palestine is scheduled to be held in Algeria due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, FIFA said. 

Going against these strong teams, Bangladesh’s pen picture is not good enough according to the stats of previous encounters. In the past Bangladesh faced these teams and never won a match.   

However, coach Javier Cabrera is very pleased to play against these formidable sides. He thinks it’s a great achievement for Bangladesh football to reach the second round of World Cup qualifying matches. 

His main ambition is not to avoid the mighty teams but to play with them. The dream came true when the Red and Green won over Maldives by 2-1 (aggregate 3-2) in the joint Asian and the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying Round 1.  

Earlier, Bangladesh were also deprived of playing international football matches for one and half year after losing to Bhutan by 1-3 goals in their return-leg play-off match of the AFC Asian Cup in Thimphu in 2016. Jamal Bhuyan and Co. also lost all three outings in Asian Games at Hangzhou recently. Bangladesh conceded two goals out of three matches. They played a goalless draw with China. 

However, national team have progressed a lot since then. It is a great relief to win over Maldives and getting a chance to qualify in the second round in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. task for Bangladesh to get the better of Socceroos. 

 Nonetheless, coach and the players should not be thinking about the outcome of previous results against these big teams, their only target should be to show a better performance on field.