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Jordan plays Iraq in friendly

By Aline Bannayan - Nov 11,2020 - Last updated at Nov 11,2020

AMMAN — Jordan plays Iraq on Thursday as the national team returns to competitions after a long break.

The national team is now holding a training camp in Dubai which runs up to November 17 during, and the team will also play Syria as it gets ready to resume qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Qatar and 2023 Asian Cup in China.

Jordan has played Iraq 44 times, with the latter winning 24 encounters and Jordan winning 10 times, with 10 draws. The record against Syria, favours Jordan with 11 wins, 10 wins for the Syrians and eight draws.

It has been a year since official matches were played. Jordan now shares second spot with Kuwait in Group B qualifiers with matches remaining against, Nepal, Kuwait and Australia. Australia is in the lead and Jordan has complicated its qualifying chances as 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.

Jordan last played Taiwan beating them 5-0. Earlier results included a 2-1 win over Taiwan 2-1, losing 1-0 to Australia, holding Kuwait 0-0 and beating Nepal 3-0.

Last week, Jordan dropped one spot to 97th when FIFA Rankings were announced. The team has been idle after the COVID 19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the world sporting agenda in the midst of the Kingdom’s matches for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and 2023 Asian Cup.

Observers had pointed out to an incoherent line-up and the postponement of the local league as one reason behind Jordan’s unsteady performances. Apart from official competition, the team was not any better in friendlies nor was able to go beyond 97th in FIFA Rankings throughout last year.

In latest FIFA World Rankings, Jordan is 12th among Arab teams and 16th in Asia, lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best ranking of 37th in 2004.

Last year, Jordan lost 4-2 to Paraguay in a friendly against the team that reached the World Cup eight times, and had its best World Cup showing in 2010 when Paraguay was knocked out in the quarter-finals.

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 6 th 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 the last edition of the Asian Cup Jordan reached the Round of 16. Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan played at the Asian Cup finals four times. The highlight was at the 13 th 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.

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 while Iraq won the title once in 2002, Kuwait in 2010, Syria in 2012 , Qatar in 2014 and Bahrain in 2019.

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