"His name will enter the history books," said a smiling Jordan coach, Jan Poulsen. The feat in question was the country's first ever goal at a FIFA U-20 World Cup, scored last Sunday against Zambia, and the man who will forever have that distinction is Abdallah Salim.
The striker was making no attempt to hide his contentment when he spoke about the achievement to FIFA.com. "When the Zambian keeper failed to clear that high ball, I had this feeling it was our chance to score. As I outjumped the defender, I was convinced I would find the net - there was no way I could miss it," he proudly recalls.
A measure of just how much the goal meant to him was evident from the player's jubilant celebrations. "Immediately after scoring, two thoughts came into my head: one was that this was the first goal Jordan had ever scored at a World Cup, and two that it was compensation for the red card and penalty that had been given against us, unjustly in my opinion, at the start of the game," says the 19-year-old.
Salim has been playing his football for Jordanian outfit Al Wahdat since the age 11, but it is only in the last three seasons that he has been training with the first team squad. Having only played a couple of official games for the first team in that period, it is easy to understand why Salim, like the rest of the Jordanian squad, are hoping their exploits in Canada will provide a timely boost to their careers. "I think that on the whole we're performing well as a team here in Canada. The only thing we players are thinking about right now is performing as best we can in our next game," insists this ardent admirer of Brazil's Kaka.
Salim, who has had to juggle training commitments with his IT studies at university, admits his dream is to one day play in one of the world's top leagues. Given the choice of team, he says it would have to be his all-time favourites, Real Madrid.
The final Group B challenge
If Jordan are to add to the one point already gleaned, they will have to do so against group leaders and reigning European champions Spain. Despite the difficulty involved, the player claims his side are not feeling the slightest pressure ahead of the game. "We've got nothing to lose, and our intention is to go out and perform with dignity. We're very hopeful, and certainly if we play like we did against Uruguay, and have a little more luck, I think there's a chance we could give Spain a surprise or two."
Poulsen's men proved a real handful for the Celeste in the teams' second Group B outing on Wednesday, in the end only losing by the narrowest of margins, having twice rattled the Uruguayan woodwork.
One of those efforts came from the boot of Salim, the striker having his free kick tipped onto the crossbar by the outstretched hand of Mauro Goicoechea. "Uruguay have an excellent team, better than we have, but we still had some great goalscoring opportunities. With a little more luck, we would have equalised," says the teenager.
"Spain and Uruguay are two very evenly matched teams that play the same type of football. The Spanish defenders are very good, as they possess a lot of skill as well as strength. Regardlss, we're going to be very focused and will try to surprise them with our pace. We believe in ourselves and we'll be going all out," the player adds. With that kind of passion and commitment, you would not bet again him making another entry in the history books this Saturday...