Jordan nearly created the biggest surprise in the Asian Zone second qualifying round for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ when they narrowly missed out on a place in the last eight, finishing only three points behind favourites Iran.
In a group that also featured Qatar and Laos, Iran were unquestionably the side tipped to advance with Qatar widely regarded as their closest rivals. However, Jordan, under Egypt's legendary coach Mahmoud El-Gohary, came from nowhere to pose the strongest challenge to Iran.
They opened the campaign brightly with a 5-0 win over Laos before overcoming Qatar by a single goal. Playing in the intimidating Azadi Stadium in Tehran, they then shocked hosts Iran with Haitham Al Shboul scoring the only goal seven minutes from time. But lack of experience took a toll in the crucial back-to-back return leg when they lost 2-0 on home soil. After beating Laos in the penultimate match, their qualifying campaign ended in an agonising way as they lost the all-important match to Qatar.
Despite the failure, the progress made by Jordan was evident with the team firmly cementing their place as one of Asia's emerging powers. The rapid development can be attributed to El-Gohary, who laid the foundation for the current national team after taking over in 2002. Backed by the strong support from the football-mad royal family of Jordan, he instilled discipline and professionalism in the young team, which subsequently earned a place at the AFC Asian Cup 2004 prior to the decisive 2-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat against Iran.
However, this momentum didn't last too long with the team rarely making an impact on the continental level over the past three years. They didn't qualify for the 2007 Asian Cup finals, and failed to win the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship which was held on home soil in June. The results saw El-Gohary step down with Jordan handing the reins to Portuguese coach Nelo Vingada.
Vingada was given only a short period to prepare his new team ahead of their opening fixture for South Africa 2010 against Kyrgyzstan. He still managed to achieve the initial goal of guiding Jordan to the qualifying third stage with a penalty shootout win.
Despite losing out to Korea DPR in the third round opener, Vingada's men rebounded against Turkmenistan in the second game with a 2-0 win. On the third matchday, Vingada's men caused a sensation, holding Asian giants Korea Republic to a 2-2 draw in Seoul, Hassan Abdel Fattah scoring two late goals to secure a notable result for the Jordanians.
However, Jordan failed keep up the momentum, as they lost 1-0 to Korea Republic at home before going down 2-0 to Korea DPR in the crucial penultimate group game in Pyongyang. Nevertheless, the Jordanians managed to end their campaign on a high after a 2-0 home win against Turkmenistan, in which Abdel Fattah scored a brace to become the section's top scorer.