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Jordan regroups to host Cyprus in Asian Cup agenda

By Aline Bannayan - May 17,2018 - Last updated at May 17,2018

AMMAN — Jordan dropped one more spot to 118th when the latest FIFA Rankings were issued on Thursday.

Germany leads World rankings at No. 1, followed by Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Argentina, Switzerland, France, Spain, Chile and Poland. 

Tunisia is the top-ranked Arab team at 14, followed by Morocco (42), Egypt (46), Algeria (64) and Saudi Arabia (67).

Jordan ended 2017 in 107th place — a position they did not better throughout last year. The team is now lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams.

Once among the Asia top ten, the Kingdom is now 21st in the continent trailing Iran (36), Australia (40), Japan (60), South Korea (61), Saudi Arabia (67), China (73), Kyrgyzstan (75), Syria (76), the UAE (81), Lebanon (82), Oman (87), Uzbekistan (88), Iraq (91), Palestine (96), India (97), Qatar (101), Vietnam (102), North Korea (110), Philippines (111) and Bahrain (116).

The national squad will host Cyprus on Sunday in a new series of friendlies as the local season winds down and the squad refocuses on preparation for the Asian Cup. Jordan was drawn in Group B alongside Australia, Syria and Palestine. The Kingdom was not in the best position for the draw where 24 teams were split to play in six groups. The top two from each group and four third placed teams will advance to the Round of 16.

Advancing to the 2019 Asian Cup set for the UAE in 2019 was not a difficult task against relatively unknown teams in the Asian continent. The top two teams from each group moved to the finals as Jordan topped Group C.

Since first taking part in Asian Cup qualifiers in 1972, Jordan reached the Asian Championship three times. 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. The Kingdom’s lowest ranking of 152nd was in 1996. It also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015.

After elimination from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, qualifying for the Asian finals was a priority for Jordan who has steadily slid down FIFA rankings and the team has had inconsistent results compared to 2013 when Jordan was on the verge of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup for the first time and advanced to play then World’s 6th ranked Uruguay in an intercontinental qualifying tie. It lost the home game 5-0 and held the former World Cup champ 0-0 in the away match. Jordan 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 7 times in the qualifiers since 1986. 

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