More than two years after taking their first step down the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Jordan's long and valiant qualifying campaign is about to reach its climax. The final stride will undoubtedly be the most difficult too, with the Asian hopefuls due to face Uruguay in the intercontinental play-off. Fourth at South Africa 2010 and two-time former winners, the South American side look to be a formidable obstacle, meaning Jordan will need to surpass themselves from the very first whistle of Wednesday's opening leg.
Wednesday 13 November
International Stadium, 18.00)
Nobody in Jordan expected their national side to reach even this far. Never before have Al-Nashama stood so close to their World Cup dream, and they could even have qualified automatically had they not dropped so many costly points after historic wins against Japan and Australia.
Ultimately they were left facing a play-off with Uzbekistan, and after coming out on top of an epic penalty shoot-out, they remain in the hunt for a coveted ticket to Brazil. Clinching their place among the elite will be no easy task, though, and it will be a case of winner takes all when they tackle Uruguay for the first time over two legs.
Their South American rivals boast a rich history and a line-up brimming with gifted players, but Jordan have their hearts set on making a positive start on home soil, anxious to keep their hopes alive for next Wednesday's decider.
As for La Celeste, they have no intention of missing out on a World Cup in neighbouring Brazil, where they clinched the second of their global titles in 1950. Oscar Tabarez's charges nonetheless struggled to impress during the group stage in South America, desperately toiling to break into the top four only to find themselves in fifth once the dust had settled. That has left them facing a trip into the unknown, but Uruguay will be determined to make their individual and collective qualities count to seal qualification at all costs.
4 – This is the fourth time Uruguay have contested the play-offs. La Celeste prevailed against Australia in 2002 and Costa Rica in 2010 but lost out to the Socceroos in 2006. Ahead of the finals in Germany, the two teams traded 1-0 home wins in Montevideo and Sydney before Uruguay finished second best on penalties.
Players to watch
Many eyes will be focused on Uruguay's strike partnership of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, and the Liverpool striker will surely merit special attention from Jordan's defence. Suarez topped the scoring charts during South American qualifying thanks to a tally of 11 goals that not even Lionel Messi could match, and since serving his suspension in the Premier League he has been in devastating form, finding the net eight times in six outings for the Reds this term.
Jordan have talent in their ranks too, even if the gulf between the two teams may appear immense. Above all, fans across the country will be hoping for big things from forward Ahmad Ibrahim, the second highest scorer in Asian qualifying courtesy of seven strikes in 18 games.
"The match is of very important for this generation of players; this is first time Jordan has been so close to qualifying. We should have the courage and self-confidence to achieve our goal," Hossam Hassan, Jordan coach.
"I do not know much about the Jordan team, but it seems they will put everything on the pitch to qualify, and I have followed their matches against Uzbekistan and Oman, and we will respect them. No one can predict who will win tomorrow, Jordan will give everything they have and we will do the same," Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay coach.