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Jordan plays Hong Kong as preparation for Asian qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Jun 07,2017 - Last updated at Jun 07,2017

AMMAN — Jordan plays Hong Kong on Wednesday in their final friendly before resuming Asian Cup Group C qualifiers when it plays its second qualifier against Vietnam on June 13 in Saigon.

Jordan leads Group C after they scored 7-0 win over lowly Cambodia while Vietnam held Afghanistan 1-1 in opening matches of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

The national team, which was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, now aims to advance to the Asian finals. “We will aim to win both matches. Nothing less,” coach Abdullah Misfer told the press at the team’s practice.

Misfer underlined the importance of being mentally and technically focused. He noted that “circumstances surrounding the team’s line-up regrouping late or training circumstances in Ramadan had to be overcome.” 

The match against Hong Kong is important for Misfer to put finishing touches on the line-up. In their latest match, Jordan lost 1-0 to Iraq in a friendly in Basra. The team earlier beat Hong Kong 4-0 in a friendly in Amman.

Asian teams in the qualifiers are playing in six groups with group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) advancing to 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 host the UAE.

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 ranking of 37th in August 2004. They also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

Jordan is now 109th in the latest FIFA rankings. The squad is still out of the Asian top 10 trailing Iran (30), South Korea (43), Japan (45), Australia (48), Saudi Arabia (53), Uzbekistan (62), UAE (75), Syria (77), China (82), Qatar (88) and India (100). 

 

The Kingdom has steadily slid down FIFA rankings and the team has had an inconsistent two years compared to 2013 when Jordan was on the verge of qualifying to the 2014 World Cup for the first time. 

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