Despite their early exit from the preliminary qualifying round for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, Palestine's two 1-0 victories over Hong Kong and Malaysia, which helped the young team finish second behind Qatar in preliminary Group C, impressed Asian observers. Their hard play and stubborn determination showed that they played not only for good results, but with honour and passion.
It is the make-up of the team that arouses most curiosity. A large portion of the team are of Palestinian origin and play in neighbouring Arab nations and Chile.
Political turmoil made things difficult for the aspiring team, who had to claim Doha, Qatar, as their "home" in Asia's second round qualifying for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. However, they defended their pride as they sat briefly atop Group Two following an opening 8-0 drubbing of Chinese Taipei and a 1-1 draw with Iraq. But, the momentum didn't last long and their back-to-back 3-0 defeats by Uzbekistan saw them eliminated with two matches remaining.
Austrian coach Alfred Riedl stepped down in the wake of the team's failed qualifying campaign and the job of building a new Palestine team fell on the shoulders of Azmi Nassar, who took over in 2005. Under Nassar, Palestine made tremendous progress which saw them soar up to 115 th place, a record high, in the FIFA/Coca Cola World Rankings in April 2006.
However, their rebuilding process was dealt a heavy blow when Nassar passed away in March 2007 due to cancer, leaving the team struggling with an unfinished preparatory task for the Asian Zone's qualifying campaign for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Mohammed Sahah stepped in shortly afterwards and the team, with the solid foundations laid by his predecessor, will be sparing no effort in trying to force their way through the qualifying stages.