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Jordan drawn alongside Australia for 2019 Asian Cup

By Aline Bannayan - May 05,2018 - Last updated at May 05,2018

AMMAN — Jordan was drawn in Group B alongside titleholder Australia, Syria and Palestine at the Asian Cup draw on Friday.

The Kingdom is now 117th in the latest FIFA Rankings and the team’s latest results and ranking meant the squad would not be in best position for the Asian Cup draw, where 24 teams were drawn to play in six groups. 

The UAE, as virtue of being the host, was top seeds placed in Group A along with India, Thailand and Bahrain.

Korea Republic, China, Kyrgyz Republic and the Philippines made up Group C, while Iran, Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen were in Group D.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon and DPR Korea found themselves in Group E with Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman and Turkmenistan making up the final Group F.

The top two from each group and four third placed teams will advance to the Round of 16.

The real challenge starts now, as Jordan, once among the Asia top ten, is now 22nd in the continent and trails Iran (36) Australia (40), Japan (60), South Korea (61), Saudi Arabia (70), China (73), Kyrgyzstan (75), Syria (76), the UAE (81), Lebanon (82), Palestine (83), Oman (87), Uzbekistan (88), Iraq (88), India (97), Qatar (101), Vietnam (103), North Korea (112), Philippines (113), Turkmenistan (114) and Bahrain (116).

Advancing to the 2019 Asian Cup set for the UAE in 2019 was not a difficult task against relatively unknown teams in the Asian continent. The top two teams from each group moved to the finals as Jordan topped Group C after they beat Cambodia 7-0, Afghanistan 4-1, and were held 0-0 with Vietnam in Leg 1. In the return leg, Jordan managed a 3-3 draw with Afghanistan, beat Cambodia 1-0 and was held 1-1 with Vietnam as both qualified from the group.

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 quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA Ranking. It also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

Jordan ended 2017 at 107th — a position they did not better throughout last year. The team is now lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to its best FIFA Ranking of 37th in 2004. Its lowest ranking of 152nd in 1996.

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, qualifying to the Asian finals was a priority for Jordan who has steadily slid down FIFA Rankings and 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. Jordan lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champ 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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