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Jordan loses to Qatar in friendly match

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 20,2016 - Last updated at Aug 20,2016

AMMAN — Jordan’s national football team started its series of friendlies on the weekend as they start preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers kicking off in March 2017.

Jordan played its Qatari counterpart in Switzerland losing 3-2 in the first of seven friendlies set for the squad. After putting behind elimination from 2018 World Cup qualifiers, national team coach Abdullah Abu Zam’eh, has recalled mainly younger players including Olympic team players.

“We aim to have the biggest number of friendlies possible which will help team cohesion and preparedness ahead of the final phase of the qualifiers, “ Abu Zam’eh was quoted as saying on the Jordan Football Association website.

Jordan went up to 79th in the latest FIFA Rankings and is now 9th in Asia behind Iran, South Korea, Japan, Uzbekistan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China. Jordan last played at the King’s Cup, an international football tournament organised in Thailand where they lost to the hosts in the final. Last year, Jordan failed to advance past the quarters of the 16th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in 2015. 

The team is now trying to get back its competitive edge after Jordan was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers doubling as part of the qualification for 2019 Asian Cup after a dismal 5-1 defeat to Australia. The qualifying journey ended in Round 1 after an inconsistent year that saw the national team lose 1-0 to Kyrgyzstan 3-0 to Tajikistan and scoring an 8-0 win over Bangladesh in Leg 2. In Leg 1, Jordan was held to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Kyrgyzstan, beat Tajikistan 3-1, Australia 2-0 and Bangladesh 4-0. 

The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + one slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup. 

The Kingdom had the most memorable World Cup qualifying journey in 2013 when it lost a possible chance to play at the World Cup for the first time and advanced to play then World’s 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie for a place in the 2014 World Cup. It lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champs 0-0 in the away match. Jordan had never reached that far in World Cup qualifying since taking part in the qualifiers as of 1985. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan reached in the past seven times in the qualifiers since 1986.

 

In the Asian Cup, Jordan reached the Championship three times since first taking part in qualifiers in 1972. The pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when it 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.

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