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Jordan hosts Hong Kong in friendly football match

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 22,2017 - Last updated at Mar 22,2017

AMMAN — Jordan hosts Hong Kong on Thursday in a football friendly ahead of the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifiers kicking off on March 28. 

Starting March 28, Jordan will open Group C qualifiers against Cambodia before playing Vietnam and Afghanistan. Jordan is the best ranked team in Group C but head coach Abdullah Misfer said his squad does not underestimate the qualifying matches. “We will seek to lead the group and advance and be competitive in the Asian Cup set for 2019.”

Jordan last played 126th ranked Georgia 1-0 in the first match under the new head coach. The team slid further down to 115th in the latest FIFA Rankings and is still out of the Asian top 10.

Misfer noted 136th ranked Vietnam had played 11 friendlies, 173rd ranked Cambodia had 12 while Jordan, like the 156th ranked Afghan team, only had 7. The coach underlined that Wihdat and Ahli players had a tough agenda with the AFC Cup and local league and cup but that team coaches were trying their best to choose a lineup that would advance now and compete in 2019.

Jordan is slated to play Iraq on June 2 and Hong Kong on June 7 again before their Vietnam qualifier. 142nd ranked Hong Kong is readying for their qualifier against Lebanon in Group B.

The qualifiers which will start March 28 and end on March 27, 2018, will see teams playing in six groups with group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) advancing o the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals as well as the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Teams already having qualified include Australia, China, Iraq, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts the UAE.

Over the past year, Jordan was plagued with inconsistent results and a change of five coaches as the team was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Now, the team aims to get pats Asian qualifiers and advance to the Asian finals. Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972. Jordan reached the championship three times. The pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August 2004, while the lowest ranking was 152nd in 1996. They also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

 

The Kingdom had the most memorable World Cup qualifying journey in 2013 when they lost a possible chance to play at the World Cup for the first time and advanced to play then World’s 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie for a place in the 2014 World Cup. They lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champs 0-0 in the away match. Jordan had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying since taking part in the qualifiers. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan reached in the past seven times in the qualifiers since 1986.

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