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Jordan shoots up in FIFA rankings

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 15,2024 - Last updated at Feb 15,2024

Jordanian coach Hussein Amouta instructs Jordanian players during AFC Asian Cup held in Qatar. Amouta was appointed the coach of the national team in June 2023 leading The Nashama to the second place at the Asian Cup (Photo courtesy of Jordanian Football Federation)

AMMAN — Jordan shot up to 17 spots to 70th in the latest FIFA rankings issued on Thursday.

The new ranking came after Jordan reached the final of the 2023 Asian Cup this week where they had an impressive run before eventually losing 3-1 to hosts and reigning champs Qatar in a match marred with officiating mistakes including three questionable penalties. It was Jordan’s 5th time  at the Asian Cup with their previous best past performance reaching the quarterfinals in 2004 and 2011.

Jordan’s results boosted team confidence and fan morale as the squad now shift focus to Group G qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup resuming in March. In two matches played so far Jordan held Tajikistan 1-1 and lost 2-0 to Saudi Arabia in November 2023.

Argentina, France, England, Belgium, Brazil, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Croatia are the top ten.  Newly-crowned African champs Ivory coast shot up to 39th and runner-up Nigeria to 28th, while Qatar shot up 21 spots to 37th.

Jordan was ranked 87th before the Asian Cup and  not even the most optimistic of fans would have thought the Kingdom’s team will make it this far through after a rough, inconsistent preparation period. Observers, ex-players and coaches point out to the leadership and tactics of Moroccan coach Hussein Amouta in steering Jordan through to the advanced position combined with the concerted effort of Jordan’s top stars which enabled the squad to steadily gain confidence in the event. 

Stars Mousa Ta’mari, Yazan Nue’imat, Yazan Al Arab, Ehsan Haddad, Ali Alwan as well as goalie Yazeed Abu Laila wrote history for Jordan and they were within reach of being  crowned the continent’s champs for the first time in history. Three penalties enabled the hosts to retain the title as Jordan settled for silver and $3 million in prize money.

On their way to the final, Jordan’s squad, dubbed “Al Nashama” finished 3rd in Group E in Round 1, after they lost 1-0 to Bahrain, tied  Korea 2-2, and scored a 4-0 win over Malaysia.  In the  Round of 16, Jordan came from 2-1 down to beat 2007 champs Iraq 3-2 in the injury time. The turning point came when they beat Tajikistan 1-0 in the quarterfinals, and made it to the semis  where they ousted two-time Asian champs Korea 2-0.

As the team returned home, fans held their breath as Coach Amouta, seemed to allude to the fact that his plans with the team were still not finalised, while he praised the players dedication and efforts to achieve Asian Cup runner-up. “It was a team effort. We do not underestimate and do not fear any opponent. This mindset was vital in getting us here. Results depend on performance, ” Amouta underlined.

The coach, who took over the job in summer was criticised for his choice of lineup and winless results in friendlies. However, he seemed to have a masterplan for an advanced placement in regional and international competitions while striving to revamp the team and create a competitive lineup for the future.  That was echoed by assistant coach and Jordan’s U23 team coach Abdullah Abu Zam’eh who noted “I’m lucky to be learning by working alongside someone like him.” 

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