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Jordan plays Vietnam in friendly football match

By Aline Bannayan - May 30,2021 - Last updated at May 30,2021

AMMAN — Jordan’s national football team plays Vietnam on Monday at the end of a training camp in Dubai ahead of 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers to be played in Kuwait June 7-15.

This week, Jordan lost to hosts, world 73rd ranked, UAE 5-1. The Kingdom’s head coach Belgian Vital Borkelmans was quoted as saying: “The team needs to overcome the big loss, disappointing defeat to the UAE.’’ He acknowledged that he held full responsibility for the team’s form and results, while underlining the focus should be on qualifying. 

The match against 92nd ranked Vietnam will be the final friendly before leaving for Kuwait where the qualifiers include matches against Nepal on June 7, Kuwait on June 11 and Australia on June 15.

Group B qualifiers were halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic after teams played five matches. Jordan beat Taiwan 5-0 and 2-1, lost 1-0 to Australia, held Kuwait 0-0 and beat Nepal 3-0. Australia leads the group while Jordan are third, level on points with Kuwait, Nepal is fourth and Taiwan fifth. 

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.

Travel and quarantine restrictions delayed the start of the qualifiers leading to the joint Asian Football Confederation (AFC) — FIFA agreement to adopt a centralised approach to the remaining qualifiers. 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 interconinental play-off.

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 Jordan lost to Japan in the quarter-finals. 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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