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U-23 team ready for Asian Championship

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 09,2018 - Last updated at Jan 09,2018

AMMAN — Jordan’s U-23 football team plays Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in its opening match at the 3rd Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship currently under way in China.

Playing in Group C, Jordan will face Malaysia on January 13 and Iraq on January 16. Sixteen teams will be playing in four groups, with the top two teams from each group moving to the quarters. 

In the course of preparations, Jordan beat Syria 1-0, held Thailand 2-2 and beat them 1-0. It hosted Oman beating it 2-1 before losing by the same score. This week, the squad held a training camp in Dubai where it beat China 2-0 and beat the Emirates Club 4-3 in the final phase of preparations for U-23 finals as well as the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Jordan advanced to the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers after finishing second behind Palestine from Group E, Oman moved from Group A, Iraq and Saudi from Group B, Qatar and Syria from Group C, Uzbekistan from Group D, Australia form Group F, North Korea from Group G, Malaysia and Thailand from Group H, South Korea and Vietnam from Group I and China and Japan from Group J.

In the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship in 2014, Jordan took third place when it beat South Korea while Iraq won the title after defeating Saudi Arabia.

In 2016, Jordan reached the quarter-finals of the AFC U-23 Championship and failed to make it to the top four and a possible Olympic slot as the continent’s top three advanced to the Rio Games football tournament. Japan was the tournament champ after edging South Korea.

Jordan’s U-23 squad played the 1st West Asian U-23 Championship in 2015, and in 2014 the line-up represented the Kingdom at the Asian Games where it made to the quarter-finals.

This year, Jordan also qualified to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship after the topped Group E qualifiers. Jordan is joined by the UAE (Group A), Tajikistan (Group B), Qatar and Iraq (Group C), Saudi Arabia (Group D), South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia (Group F), China (Group G), Vietnam and Taiwan (Group H), Japan and Thailand (Group I), and Australia and North Korea (Group J).

Jordan had failed to qualify to the Championships in 2014 and 2016 after earlier qualifying four times and reaching the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. The team finished fourth in 2006, but exited the first round in 2008 and 2010 and reached the quarters in 2012. 

 

Earlier this year, Jordan’s U-16 team also qualified to the 2018 Asian Football Confederatiton (AFC) U-16 Championship after topping Group A qualifiers. Jordan joined group winners Tajikistan (Group B), Iran (Group C), Iraq (Group D), Yemen (Group E), North Korea (Group F), Indonesia (Group G), Australia (Group I), South Korea (Group H), Japan (Group J). Oman, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia moved as second placed top four teams.

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