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Jordan plays Australia in U23 Asian Cup opener

By Aline Bannayan - Apr 14,2024 - Last updated at Apr 14,2024

AMMAN  —  The national U23 football squad faces Australia at 4:00pm on Monday in its opening match at the 6th AFC U23 Asian Cup in Qatar– a qualifying tournament to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Jordan played two friendlies this week before finalizing their lineup losing 1-0 to China and drawing Vietnam 0-0.  The team is still hoping star striker Omar Salah, who is on duty with Qatar’s Wakrah Club in the local league, will be allowed to join the national team lineup.

The Kingdom is eyeing a spot at the Olympic Games for the first time as three teams will qualify to the Olympics while the fourth will play a play-off to advance. 

Jordan will be playing in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Indonesia and Australia. 

Group B includes Japan, Korea, UAE and China;

Group C includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand and Tajikistan;

Group D includes Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kuwait and Malaysia.

The Kingdom is competing at the U23 Asian Cup (previously the Asian Championship) for the 6th time with their best performance 3rd in 2013. They reached the quarterfinals in 2016 and 2020 and were eliminated from the first round in 2018 and 2022.

Australia came in third in 2020 while Qatar was third in 2018, and Indonesia is competing for the first time. Previous champions are Iraq 2013, Japan 2016, Uzbekistan 2018, Korea 2020, Saudi Arabia 2022.

Last week, Jordan overcame Iraq to take fifth spot at the 5th West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship in Saudi Arabia.  Jordan beat Thailand to qualify to the 5th spot match after losing to Saudi Arabia in a dramatic, disappointing penalty shootout in their opening match. Korea beat Australia on penalties to win the title, while Saudi beat Egypt for third place.

The U23 squad hopes to emulate the success of the senior national team who finished runner-up at the 2023 Asian Cup which ended in February. It was Jordan’ս 5th time at the competition with their previous best performance reaching the quarterfinals in 2004 and 2011.

 

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