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Jordan hosts Vietnam in final Asian qualifier

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 26,2018 - Last updated at Mar 26,2018

AMMAN — Jordan’s national football team plays Vietnam on Tuesday in its final return leg 2019 Asian Cup qualifier.

Jordan has already secured qualification to the Asian Cup finals after topping Group C, eliminating relatively unknown teams in the Asian continent. The Kingdom beat Cambodia 7-0, Afghanistan 4-1 , and was held 0-0 with Vietnam. In the return leg, Jordan managed a 3-3 draw with Afghanistan and beat Cambodia 1-0 to qualify alongside second place Vietnam. The top two teams from each group will move to the Asian Cup finals set for the UAE in 2019.  

The national team beat Kuwait 1-0 this week in a friendly ahead of the Vietnam match and earlier lost to world’s 66th ranked Finland and beat 12th ranked Denmark’s second tier under-21 during a training camp in Abu Dhabi. With the draw for the finals a month away, Jordan is now 117th in the latest FIFA rankings and the team’s latest results and ranking mean the squad will not be in best position for the Asian Cup draw. 

Group C had limited capabilities and advancing to the 2019 Asian Cup was not a difficult task against relatively unknown teams in the Asian continent. India and Kyrgyzstan moved from Group A, Lebanon from B, Palestine and Oman from C, Bahrain and Turkmenistan from E. the Philippines leads group F with another round to go.

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

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, qualifying to the Asian finals was a priority for Jordan who have steadily slid which FIFA rankings while the team has had an inconsistent two years 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. It 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 qualifiers. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan reached in the past seven times in the qualifiers since 1986.

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