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Jordan drawn in Group B alongside Asian Cup champs

By Aline Bannayan - Apr 14,2015 - Last updated at Apr 14,2015

AMMAN — Jordan was drawn in Group B on Tuesday in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which are also doubling as part of the qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup.

Jordan will join Australia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh as it seeks to advance in both competitions. Forty teams are in the second qualifying round which runs through nine months from this June until March 2016, with the teams playing home and away matches in a round-robin format. The competing nations, divided into eight groups of five, will battle for places in the final qualifying round, and also for berths at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019. 

The seeding was based on the latest edition of FIFA World Rankings hence Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, China and Iraq were the top seeds and avoided playing against one another. 

India, Bhutan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Yemen and Timor-Leste, the six lowest ranked teams played Round 1 and advanced.

This week, Jordan dropped out of the top 100 to 103rd and settled for 13th among Asian teams. The latest drop came following two friendlies in which they lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia and 1-0 to Syria. The results were vital in deciding the team's position among Asian teams.

The national team is a transitional phase after they failed to reach the quarters of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. It was the third time since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972 that Jordan reached the competition finals: the pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA Ranking of 37th in August 2004. In 2011, Jordan again reached the quarter-finals.

Jordan had the most memorable World Cup qualifiers in the last edition when they played then World's 6th ranked Uruguay in their intercontinental qualifying tie for a place in the 2014 World Cup. Jordan lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champs 0-0 in the away match, losing the chance to move to the World Cup for the first time. 

The Kingdom had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying since taking part in 1985. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan had reached in the past seven times at the qualifiers since 1986.

Draw results 

Group A: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Timor Leste, Malaysia
Group B: Australia, Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh
Group C: China, Qatar, Maldives, Bhutan, Hong Kong
Group D: Iran, Oman, India, Turkmenistan, Guam
Group E: Japan, Syria, Afghanistan, Singapore, Cambodia
Group F: Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan
Group G: South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Laos
Group H: Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Philippines, North Korea, Yemen

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