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Jordan plays Tajikistan in friendly

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 04,2021 - Last updated at Feb 04,2021

AMMAN — As the sporting agenda makes a shy comeback amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the national football team will play its third match on Friday in the course of a training camp in Dubai as they prepare to resume 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Jordan started off the training camp with a goalless draw against Ukraine's FC Dynamo Kyiv, who are preparing for the second round of the Ukrainian Premier League. Earlier in the week, the Kingdom beat 121st ranked Tajikistan 2-0 and will play them again Friday before concluding the camp with a match against 85th ranked Uzbekistan on February 15.

The Asian qualifiers were halted after teams played five matches. Australia currently lead Group B, and Jordan shares the second spot with matches remaining against Kuwait, Nepal and Australia. 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. So far, Jordan beat Taiwan twice (5-0, 10,2), lost 1-0 to Australia, held Kuwait 0-0 and beat Nepal 3-0.

The national team was idle in 2020 apart from a training camp in November during which Jordan beat Syria 1-0 and held Iraq 0-0. In the latest FIFA rankings in December, Jordan stayed 95th overall and 15th in Asia lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best ranking of 37th in 2004.  

In the highlight of friendlies before the qualifiers, Jordan lost 4-2 to Paraguay who reached the World Cup eight times, and had their best World Cup showing in 2010 when they were knocked out of the quarter-finals.

Looking back at the national team's peak performance, in 2013 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 Asia, Jordan reached the Round of 16 in the last edition of the Asian Cup. Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the Asian Cup four times: the highlight was at the 13th Asian Cup in 2004, when they lost to Japan in the quarterfinals 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. Iraq won the title once in 2002, Kuwait in 2010, Syria in 2012 and Qatar in 2014 and Bahrain in 2019.


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