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Jordan plays China on Friday after dropping past two friendlies

By Aline Bannayan - Dec 27,2018 - Last updated at Dec 27,2018

AMMAN — Jordan  plays China on Friday in its final friendly ahead of the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE.

Jordan has had a tough week. Following a training camp in Oman, the national team lost its first two friendlies during its current training camp in Qatar: they lost the first 1-0 to  Kyrgyzstan and second 2-0 to its host. 

While the national team's path to the Asian Championship was not difficult against relatively unknown teams, the Asian Cup might not be that easy as Jordan will join  24 teams playing in 6 groups with the top two from each group and four third placed teams advancing to the Round of 16. 

Jordan ended the year at 109th — its best ranking of the year — when the latest FIFA rankings were issued this week as the team started the final countdown to the Asian Cup where Jordan will play  in Group B against Australia on January 6, Syria on January 10 and Palestine on January 15.

Earlier this month, Jordan hosted two friendlies, beating India 2-1 and holding Saudi Arabia 1-1. Earlier, it held Albania 0-0 and lost 2-1 to World Cup runner-up Croatia. Jordan also tied Oman 0-0 and lost 1-0 to Lebanon.

After being among the Asia top 10, Jordan is now 19th on the continent lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best FIFA ranking of 37th in 2004.

Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the Asian Championship three times. The peak was at the 13th Asian Cup, when Jordan lost to Japan in the quarterfinals and jumped to its best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August of 2004. It also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, playing in the Asian finals became Jordan's focus. The team has had inconsistent results compared to 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 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie. 

Jordan had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan had reached their past 7 attempts. 

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