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Jordan hosts Tajikistan in vital World Cup qualifier

By Aline Bannayan - Jun 06,2024 - Last updated at Jun 06,2024

AMMAN — All eyes are on Jordan’s national team when they host Tajikistan Thursday evening in a vital match determining qualifiers from Group G for the next stage in the 2026 World Cup journey.

HRH Crown Prince Hussein and HRH Prince Hashem Bin Abdullah, dropped in to the team’s practice ground earlier in the week, underscoring official and fan support to the squad, who have captured hearts and minds following their memorable performance at the 2023 Asian Cup where they reached the final match and settled for runner-up.

Jordan beat 195th ranked Pakistan 7-0 and 3-0 to climb to second in the group ahead of the return leg matches against Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia later on June 11. In earlier qualifiers, Jordan held Tajikistan 1-1 and lost 2-0 to Saudi Arabia who beat Tajikistan 1-0 and tied 1-1 the return.

Following the Asian Cup, expectations have shifted after wins against former Asian champs Iraq and South Korea before eventually losing 3-1 to hosts and reigning champs Qatar, shot the team up 17 spots in FIFA rankings.

Now at 71st, Jordan has regrouped the squad, with most stars playing abroad ready to face 99th ranked Tajikistan, while 53rd ranked Saudi play Pakistan in an away game. The squad has to contend with injuries and possible lineup changes with star striker Mousa Ta’mari recovering from an injury sustained in the French League matches, in addition to goalie Nour Bani Atiya.

Jordan’s Moroccan coach Hussein Amouta who has been become a household name has finally confirmed he would be staying with team after much speculation that he would leave after the next two matches, citing “personal reasons”.

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