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Jordan national football team readies for friendlies in Dubai

By Aline Bannayan - May 23,2021 - Last updated at May 23,2021

AMMAN — Jordan’s national football team has started a training camp in Dubai in the final countdown ahead of 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers to be played in Kuwait June 7-15.

Jordan will play the host UAE on Monday and Vietnam on May 31 before leaving for Kuwait where the remaining qualifiers include Nepal on June 7, Kuwait on June 11 and Australia on May 15.

Group B qualifiers were halted last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic after teams played five matches. So far, Jordan beat Taiwan 5-0 and 2-1; lost 1-0 to Australia; held Kuwait 0-0 and beat Nepal 3-0. Australia lead the group while Jordan shares second spot with Kuwait, Nepal is fourth and Taiwan fifth. 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..

The four teams in the third round will join tournament hosts Qatar at the World Cup, with a further spot possibly secured by an Asian team via the intercontinental play-off.

Travel and quarantine restrictions caused by the pandemic shifted the date and location of qualifiers after they were previously set for March. The joint Asian Football Confederation (AFC) FIFA agreement adopted a centralised approach to the remaining qualifiers which were halted since November 2019.

In their last friendlies in March, Jordan held Oman 0-0, beat Lebanon 1-0 and Bahrain 2-1. Earlier, Jordan lost 2-0 to Uzbekistan, beat Tajikistan 2-0 before losing 1-0 in the second encounter. They also lost 1-0 to Russia’s Premier league leaders FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, and held Ukraine’s FC Dynamo Kiev 0-0.

In latest FIFA Rankings, Jordan stayed 95th overall and 15th in Asia lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best ranking of 37th in August of  2004. 

Looking back at the Jordan’s peak performance, in 2013, the team 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 it lost to Japan in the quarter-finals. Jordan also reached the Asian Cup in 2011, 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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