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Jordan continues AFC Cup preparations

By Aline Bannayan - Dec 30,2014 - Last updated at Dec 30,2014

AMMAN — Jordan lost 1-0 to the UAE on Wednesday in Gold Coast, Australia, in one of the final friendlies ahead of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2015 Asian Cup kicking off on January 9.

The UAE scored its goal in the 84th minute after missing a penalty in the first half. Jordan will play Bahrain on January 4 in its final tune-up before starting the competition. On its way to Australia, Jordan had a stopover in Dubai where it lost to Uzbekistan 2-1. 

Commenting on latest friendlies, head coach Ray Wilkins underlined “all friendlies were aimed at giving the team’s coaches the tools to amend any gaps”.

Teams competing in the 2015 Asian Cup have started to arrive in Australia, ahead of the January 9 kick off. A total of 16 teams are set to compete, with games to be played in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

Jordan reached the Asian Cup quarters in 2004 and 2011. This time the team qualified after finishing second in Group A behind leaders Oman. Jordan will play in Group D against Iraq on January 12, Palestine on January 16 and Japan on January 20.

With Japan being the clear contender to lead the group and possibly win the event, the second qualifying spot from the group rests upon Jordan’s opening match. “Our first match against Iraq is vital. If we win, we boost our qualifying chances. Therefore, I see it as the most crucial match for both teams,” Wilkins noted.

Jordan went up five spots to 81st in the latest FIFA rankings after dropping 12 places the month before. Jordan last played Estonia and  South Korea losing 1-0 to both. Earlier, the team hosted Kuwait in two matches, losing 1-0 and tying 1-1, held China 1-1, and lost to Uzbekistan 2-0 and Columbia 3-0.

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