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Jordan to conclude Dubai camp

Shafie announces retirement

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 14,2021 - Last updated at Feb 14,2021

AMMAN — Jordan concludes the training camp in Dubai after it faces Uzbekistan on Monday in the final friendly as it prepares to resume 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Earlier in the week, the national team lost 1-0 to Russia’s Premier League leaders FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. Jordan started off the training camp with a goalless draw against Ukraine’s FC Dynamo Kyiv, who are preparing for the second round of the Ukrainian Premier League. The Kingdom then beat 121st ranked Tajikistan 2-0 before losing 1-0 in the second encounter. 

This week, world 85th ranked Uzbekistan lost 4-0 to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.

The Asian qualifiers were halted last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic after teams played five matches. Australia currently leads Group B, and Jordan shares second spot with matches remaining against Kuwait, Nepal and Australia. The top team from each of the eight competing groups and four best second place finishers will move to the 2023 Asian Cup finals and Round 3 of World Cup qualifiers. So far, Jordan beat Taiwan 5-0 and 2-1, lost 1-0 to Australia, held Kuwait 0-0 and beat Nepal 3-0.

During the camp in Dubai, national team captain and goalie Amer Shafie announced his retirement. The team star, who has played 176 matches with the Kingdom’s team said: “It has been a tough decision, after 25 years on the field. I am leaving while still at the top of my game.” 

The national team was idle in 2020 apart from two friendlies in which Jordan beat Syria 1-0 and held Iraq 0-0. In the highlight of friendlies before the qualifiers, Jordan lost 4-2 to Paraguay which reached the World Cup eight times, and had their best World Cup showing in 2010 when they were knocked out of the quarter-finals.

In December FIFA Rankings, Jordan stayed 95th overall and 15th in Asia lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best ranking of 37th in 2004.

Looking back at the Jordan’s peak performance, in 2013, the team was on the verge of qualifying to the 2014 World Cup for the first time and advanced to play then World’s 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie. The Kingdom had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying since first taking part in qualifiers. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan reached in the past seven times since 1986 qualifiers. 

In Asia, Jordan reached the Round of 16 in the last edition of the Asian Cup. Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the Asian Cup four times. The highlight was at the 13th Asian Cup in 2004 when they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA rank of 37th. They also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015 and 2019. 

Regionally, Jordan finished runner up to Bahrain at the 9th West Asian Championship in 2019. It was the fourth time for Jordan in the final after 2002, 2008 and 2014. Iran won the title for the fourth time in 2008. Iraq won the title once in 2002, Kuwait in 2010, Syria in 2012 and Qatar in 2014 and Bahrain in 2019. 

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