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Kingdom plays Lebanon in friendly football match

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 30,2016 - Last updated at Aug 30,2016

AMMAN  — Jordan’s national football team play Lebanon on Wednesday in their second friendly this month as part of their training agenda for the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers kicking off in March 2017.

The match which will be held at 9:00pm at Camille Shamoun Stadium in Beirut will see Jordan’s line-up without pros playing aboard as the coaching staff tries to give younger team members competitive experience as Jordan strives to get back into regional competitions while attempting to build a new line-up for the future. 

Jordan was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers doubling as part of the qualification for 2019 Asian Cup. After putting behind elimination from 2018 World Cup qualifiers, national team coach Abdullah Abu Zam’eh has recalled mainly younger players, including Olympic team players. “We aim to have the biggest number of friendlies possible which will help team cohesion and preparedness ahead of the final phase of the qualifiers, “ Abu Zam’eh was quoted as saying on the Jordan Football Association website.

The team will regroup for friendlies and camps until the start of the Asian qualifiers from which group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + one slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup. 

Jordan is now 79th in the latest FIFA rankings and is now 9th in Asia behind Iran, South Korea, Japan, Uzbekistan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China. The squad last played at the King’s Cup, an international football tournament organised in Thailand where they lost to the hosts in the final. Last week, Jordan lost 3-2 to Qatar in the first of seven friendlies and the squad is set to play Bahrain on September 4.

The Kingdom had the most memorable World Cup qualifying journey in 2013 when they lost a possible chance to play at the World Cup for the first time and advanced to play then World’s 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie for a place in the 2014 World Cup. They lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champs 0-0 in the away match. Jordan had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying since taking part in the qualifiers as of 1985. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan reached in the past seven times in the qualifiers since 1986.

 

In the Asian Cup, Jordan reached the championship three times since first taking part in qualifiers in 1972: the pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when they lost to Japan in the quarterfinals and jumped to the best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August 2004. In 2011, Jordan again reached the quarter-finals. 

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