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Jordan plays Iraq in friendly football match

By Aline Bannayan - May 31,2017 - Last updated at May 31,2017

AMMAN — Jordan plays Iraq on Thursday in Basra amid a training camp before resuming Asian Cup Group C qualifiers next week.

Following the end of the local football agenda, focus now shifts to the national team who was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and now aims to advance to the Asian finals. 

Jordan beat Hong Kong 4-0 in a friendly and will repeat the encounter on June 6 before playing its second Asian Cup Group C qualifier on June 13 against Vietnam in Saigon. Jordan leads the group after they scored 7-0 win over lowly Cambodia while Vietnam held Afghanistan 1-1 in the opening matches of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers. 

The Kingdom went up one spot to 109th in the latest FIFA Rankings. The squad is still out of the Asian top 10, trailing Iran (28), South Korea (43), Japan (44), Australia (50), Saudi Arabia (52), Uzbekistan (60), UAE (74), Syria (80), China (81), Qatar (89), and India (100). 

Asian teams in the qualifiers are playing in six groups with group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) advancing to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals as well as the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Teams already having qualified include Australia, China, Iraq, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts the UAE.

Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the championship three times. The pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA rank of 37th in August 2004. They also reached the Asian Cup in 2011.

The Kingdom had the most memorable World Cup qualifying journey in 2013 when they 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. Round 3 had been the furthest Jordan reached in the past seven times in the qualifiers since 1986.

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