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Jordan up one spot, to 98th, in FIFA rankings

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 21,2019 - Last updated at Sep 21,2019

AMMAN — Jordan is readying to host Singapore on October 5 amid its busy training agenda and matches of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Qatar and 2023 Asian Cup in China.

Over the weekend, the Kingdom went up one spot to 98th in the latest FIFA World Rankings which came after Jordan won its first Asian qualifier and lost a friendly this month. Jordan will resume qualifiers and host Nepal and Kuwait on October 10 and 15 before playing Australia on November 14 and Taiwan on November 19. The qualifiers will then halt until March 31.

The national team lost a 2-0 lead to go down 4-2 to Paraguay in Amman in a friendly. The match came after they returned from Taiwan where they beat their host 2-1 in the first match of the World Cup and Asian Cup Group B qualifiers alongside Australia, Kuwait and Nepal.

The Kingdom also played a friendly during a training camp in Malaysia where it beat the host 1-0.  The match against Paraguay, who reached the World Cup eight times, was the most high profile friendly set in the training agenda. The guest team had the best World Cup in 2010 when it was knocked out of the quarterfinals. They are currently 40th in FIFA rankings. Paraguay, were twice Copa America champs in 1953 and 1979 and reached the final in 2011 but lost to Uruguay.

Once among the Asia top 10, Jordan is now 15th in the continent but still lags behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to their best FIFA ranking of 37th in 2004. Jordan trails Iran (23), Japan (31), South Korea (37), Australia (44), Qatar (62), the UAE (66), China (68), Saudi Arabia (70), Iraq (79), Oman (84), Syria (85), Uzbekistan (88), Lebanon (94) and Kyrgyzstan (97).

Belgium is in top spot with World Cup champ France in second spot followed by, Brazil, England, Portugal, Uruguay, Spain, Croatia, Columbia, Argentina. Tunisia is the top-ranked Arab team at 29th, followed by Morocco 39th, Egypt 49th, Qatar 62nd.

During summer Jordan played at the 9th West Asian Championship later won by Bahrain. It was the fourth time for Jordan in the final, finishing runner-up three times but never winning the title. Jordan’s best finish at WAFF Championship was runner-up in 2002, 2008 and 2014. Iran won the title for the fourth time in 2008. Iraq won the title once in 2002, Kuwait in 2010, Syria in 2012, Qatar in 2014 and Bahrain in 2019.

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, playing in the Asian finals became Jordan’s focus but that ambition ended in the Round of 16. Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the Asian Championship four times: the highlight was at the 13th Asian Cup in 2004, when it lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA ranking. They also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015 and 2019.

The national team’s best peak performance was in 2013 when the team 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. The Kingdom 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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