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Jordan hosts Australia in Asian qualifier

By Aline Bannayan - Nov 13,2019 - Last updated at Nov 13,2019

AMMAN  — Jordan hosts Australia on Thursday in its fourth match in Group B qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup.

The 6pm match at King Abdullah Stadium is vital for both teams. Australia currently leads the group with nine points from three wins while Jordan is second after it beat world 129th ranked Taiwan 2-1, world’s 161st ranked Nepal 3-0 and held Kuwait 0-0.

So far, Australia beat Nepal 5-0, Kuwait 3-0 and Taiwan 7-1. Kuwait beat Nepal 7-0, while Nepal beat Taiwan 2-0.

Following the match against Australia, Jordan will host Taiwan on November 19. The qualifiers will then halt until March 31, 2020 when Jordan plays Kuwait before facing Nepal on June 4 and Australia on June 9. The top team from each of the eight groups and four second place finishers will move to the 2023 Asian Cup finals and Round 3 of World Cup qualifiers.

In five head- to- head encounters, Jordan beat their guests three times. In latest FIFA World Rankings, the Australians are 44th and 4th in Asia, while Jordan remained at 98th and 16th in the continent lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best FIFA Ranking of 37th in August of 2004.

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

On the world scene, the national team’s peak performance was in 2013 when Jordan 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 2019, Jordan finished runner-up to Bahrain at the 9th West Asian Championship . 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 in 2002, Kuwait in 2010, Syria in 2012, Qatar in 2014 and Bahrain in 2019. 

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