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Jordan ends year at 109th, plays Qatar today

By Aline Bannayan - Dec 22,2018 - Last updated at Dec 22,2018

AMMAN —  Jordan  ended the year at 109th — its best ranking of the year — when the latest FIFA rankings were issued over the weekend as the team begins the countdown to the 2019 Asian Cup finals in the UAE.

The Jordan Professional League is now on hold for the national team’s Asian Cup preparations, where Jordan will play in Group B against Australia on January 6, Syria on January 10 and Palestine on January 15.

Following a training camp in Oman, the national team is now holding a training camp in  Qatar, where they lost the first friendly 1-0 to  Kyrgyzstan. Jordan will play Qatar today and China on December 28, in the final phase. Earlier it played two friendlies at home beating India 2-1 and holding Saudi Arabia 1-1. Last month, Jordan held Albania 0-0 and lost 2-1 to World Cup runner-up Croatia. It also tied Oman 0-0 and lost 1-0 to Lebanon.

The Kingdom’s competitive edge is lacking and judging by FIFA rankings it seems they have a tough task ahead. Jordan is now 19th in the Asian continent trailing Iran (29), Australia (41), Japan (50), South Korea (53), Saudi Arabia (69), Syria (74),  China (76), the UAE (79), Lebanon (81), Oman (82),  Iraq (88),  Kyrgyzstan (91), Qatar (93), Uzbekistan (95), India (97), Palestine (99) Vietnam (100), North Korea (109). 

Tunisia is the top-ranked Arab team at 26, followed by Morocco (40), Egypt (56), Algeria (67), Saudi Arabia (69).  Once among the Asian top 10, Jordan is now 19th, lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best FIFA ranking of 37th in 2004.   

Belgium is in top spot with World Cup champs France (2nd)followed by Brazil, Croatia, England, Portugal, Uruguay, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark. 

While the  national team’s path to the Asian Championship was not difficult against relatively unknown teams on the continent, the Asian Cup is a different story: Jordan will join  24 teams playing in six groups with the top two from each group and four third placed teams advancing to the Round of 16. 

Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan has reached the Asian Championship three times: the peak of which was at the 13th Asian Cup, when it lost to Japan in the quarterfinals and jumped to its best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August 2004. Jordan also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, playing in the Asian finals became Jordan’s focus. The team has had inconsistent results compared to 2013 when Jordan was on the verge of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup for the first time and advanced to play then world’s 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie. Jordan had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying. 

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