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Jordan’s U-22 players join senior team’s training camp

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 26,2014 - Last updated at Jan 26,2014

AMMAN — The national football team resumed its training camp in Dubai on Sunday as it started the countdown to the Asian Cup 2015 qualifier against Oman on January 31.

The squad was complemented by four players from the U-22 team, which took third spot in the inaugural U-22 AFC Championship.

Jordan beat South Korea 3-2 on penalties to take the bronze medals.

The squad had reached the semifinals with an undefeated streak of matches.

In Round 1, Jordan topped Group A after beating Myanmar 6-1, holding South Korea 1-1 and beating hosts Oman 1-0.

In the quarters, the squad beat the UAE 1-0. In the semis, Jordan lost to Saudi Arabia 3-1. Iraq, which ousted Japan in the quarters and South Korea in the semis, played Saudi Arabia in Sunday’s final.

Jordan’s senior team lately finished runners-up at the 8th West Asian Football Federation Championship after losing to Qatar 2-0 in the final.

Head coach Hossam Hassan, who had to manage with a new line-up that included six U-22 players after players in Gulf clubs were not released, still has to grapple with that issue during training in Dubai.

“We highly appreciate cooperation shown by some Arab Clubs to release national team players. We have a big task ahead and hope other clubs will follow suit,” Hassan was quoted by local Arabic dailies as saying on Sunday.

The Asian Cup 2015 qualifiers include 25 teams playing in five groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group and the best third-placed team will qualify to the tournament to be held in 2015.

Jordan has technically qualified to the Asian Cup but the next two matches against Oman, on January 31, and Singapore, on February 4, are back to back. Their last match is against Syria on March 5. The national team is now second in Group A after it held Oman 0-0, tied Syria 1-1 and defeated Singapore 4-0.

Meanwhile, Hassan congratulated the U-22 team on their latest achievement, saying this was a result of planning and vision led by FIFA Vice President for Asia and Jordan Football Association President HRH Prince Ali.

“The players’ perseverance enabled them to play on a competitive level among the continent’s best teams. They gained a great experience and enabling the best to complement the national team is a positive outcome,” Hassan added.

In the past eight times since taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the finals twice: In the 13th Asian Cup, they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August 2004. In 2011, Jordan again reached the quarter-finals, losing to Uzbekistan 2-1.

Jordan is now 72nd in the latest FIFA rankings and seventh among Asian Football confederation teams, led by Iran, which holds the top Asian spot at 34th place.

Last year, Jordan was a step away from reaching the World Cup for the first time after playing the world’s sixth ranked Uruguay in their intercontinental qualifying tie.

The Kingdom lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champs 0-0 in the away match. Jordan had never reached this far in World Cup qualifying since taking part in the World Cup qualifiers as of 1985, reaching as far as Round 3 had been the furthest in the past seven times in the qualifiers.

In friendlies over the past few months, Jordan beat Zambia 1-0, Nigeria 1-0, held Kuwait 1-1, beat Libya 2-1 and Palestine 4-1.

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