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AFC Asian Cup 2019: Team Preview Jordan

ANALYST
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165   //    03 Jan 2019, 20:00 IST

Amer Shafi from Jordan vs Australia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Amer Shafi from Jordan vs Australia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Jordan has been struggling off late and would want to turn the tide during the AFC campaign when they take on the mighty Australians in a tough opening encounter at Al Ain. With the team struggling to get any rhythm to the lead up to their Asian Cup match, Belgian coach Vital Borkelmans faces a mammoth task in hand to reverse the fortunes of the West Asian Nation.

Past Performance:

Jordan did not get past the group stage in the previous edition in Australia. They impressed during their brief stint with a narrow 0-1 loss to Iraq and then hammered Palestine 5-1 in the second game. They lost to Japan by two goals to finish the competition in the ninth position. Hamza Al-Dardour scored four goals for Jordan to become the second highest goal scorer in the tournament.

Statistics:

Their most impressive performance came up during their debut in 2004 and in 2011 when they made it their way through to the quarter-finals. Boasting a 26% win percentage, they have recorded four victories, four draws, along with three defeats from their 11 appearances in Asian Cup. 

Current Form:

With 13 games under their belt in 2018, The Brave Gentlemen have struggled to manage only three victories of which two came against higher ranked opponents India and Cyprus. They salvaged five draws with impressive performances against Saudi Arabia, China, Albania, Oman, and Vietnam. 

Key Players:

Musa Suliman Al-Taamari plays as a winger in the Cypriot first division for APOEL FC after he impressed the club during his stint with Al Jazeera during the 2018 AFC Cup. Known for his burst of pace, dribbling skills and creativity he would become a potent weapon for Jordan with his attacks to ferry them past the group stages.

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Nicknamed as the “Whale of Asia” apt to his outstanding acrobatic saves at the line, Jordanian Captain Amer Shafi would carry out a key role to maintain clean sheets for his side which would hand them a chance to venture into the knock-outs. With 146 caps under his belt, he scored his only goal in a friendly against India when he caught the Indian custodian by surprise by reeling off a huge kick towards the opponent‘s goal.

Musa Suliman Al-Taamari of Jordan playing for APOEL (Image Courtesy: APOEL FC)
Musa Suliman Al-Taamari of Jordan playing for APOEL (Image Courtesy: APOEL FC)

Fixtures:

Sunday, 06 January 2019: Jordan (109) vs Australia (41) - Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 16:30 IST.

Thursday, 10 January 2019: Jordan (109) vs Syria (74) - Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 19:00 IST.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019: Jordan (109) vs Palestine (99) - Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 19:00 IST.

Odds:

Jordan got hammered 1-5 during their previous meeting against Australia in Sydney in 2016 and would go down fighting against the Aussies. Jordan would find it tough to get past Syria in their subsequent encounter. Their most realistic chance to garner points is against Palestine which would be detrimental to their chances of entering the last sixteen. 

A third-place finish would draw them against top-seeds Iran in the round of 16. 

Squad:

Average Age: 28 years.

International Caps: 865.

International Goals: 75.

Head Coach: Vital Borkelmans (Belgium).

Goalkeepers: Amer Shafi (captain) (Shabab Al-Ordon), Ahmed Abdel-Sattar (Al-Jazeera), Moataz Yaseen (Al-Faisaly).

Defenders: Feras Shelbaieh (Al-Jazeera), Tareq Khattab (Al-Salmiya), Yazan Abu Arab (Al-Jazeera), Bara' Marei (Al-Faisaly), Mohammad Al-Basha (Al-Wehdat), Anas Bani Yaseen (Al-Faisaly), Salem Al-Ajalin (Al-Faisaly).

Midfielders: Baha' Abdel-Rahman (Al-Faisaly), Saeed Murjan (Al-Wehdat), Yousef Al-Rawashdeh (Al-Faisaly), Obaida Al-Samarneh (Al-Wehdat), Ahmed Samir (Al-Jazeera), Khalil Bani Attiah (Al-Faisaly), Saleh Rateb (Al-Wehdat), Yazan Thalji (Al-Wehdat).

Strikers: Baha' Faisal (Al-Wehdat), Yaseen Al-Bakhit (Dibba Al-Fujairah), Ahmad Ersan (Al-Faisaly), Musa Al-Taamari (APOEL), Odai Khadr (Dhofar).

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