The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ intercontinental play-off between Jordan and Uruguay is almost upon us. In anticipation of the big event, FIFA.com brings you all the facts and figures from Jordan’s long, hard road through the Asian qualifiers.
33 – The number of Jordan players who have featured in all five rounds of the side’s qualifying campaign. The list of names can be broken down into two distinct groups, the first being the core of 14 players who have been with the Jordan squad from the very beginning, and the second those players who were brought in to play a few games or who were left out of the squad before the final round. The core group includes Ahmad Ibrahim (18 games), Amer Khalil (17 games), Amer Sabbah, Shadi Abu Hashhash and Abdullah Deeb (all on 16 games), Anas Bani Yaseen (15 games), Odai Al Saify, Khalil Bani Ateyah and Basem Fathi (14 games), not forgetting Saeed Al Murjan (13 games).
30 – The team’s goal tally from 18 games, at an average of 1.67 goals per game, is the same number scored by Iran and Japan, both of whom qualified for Brazil 2014. The goals were shared between 11 players, with the team’s attack, midfield and defence all making a contribution. The strikers registered 7 goals, the wingers struck 12, the midfield players nine and the defenders two, evidence that Jordan were not over-reliant on a few star goal-scorers, but played as a team. The Arab side managed to score in 15 of their 18 encounters and hit the back of the net against every opponent they faced.
26 – The number of goals Jordan conceded at an average of 1.44 goals per game. This puts them third in the Asian qualifying list behind Indonesia (30) and Lebanon (28). A quick look at their match stats is also revealing. Their 6-0 loss to Japan in Saitama and a 4-0 drubbing by Australia in Melbourne were their worst results. The first group stage saw them go down 3-1 to both Iraq and China PR, though it should be noted that against latter they had already secured their passage to Round 4. Incurring such heavy losses clearly forced Jordan to learn from their mistakes, which they duly did to snatch third place in Group B during Round 4, earning them another chance in the Asian play-offs. They will have little margin for error against Uruguay though, who will be fielding two world-class threats in Luis Suarez (who headed the South American qualifiers’ goal-scoring list with 11 strikes) and Edinson Cavani (five goals).
18 –The number of games Jordan have played in the three qualifying rounds plus the two legs of the Asian play-offs. They have played nine of these games in Amman, winning six for a success rate of 66.6 per cent, including 2-1 victories over eventual Brazil 2014 qualifiers Japan and Australia. Their biggest victory in the campaign also came at home when they thrashed Nepal 9-0 in Round 2, while they also registered two draws, the first a 1-1 stalemate against Iraq in Round 4 and the second a hard-fought play-off draw against Uzbekistan. Their only home defeat was a 3-1 loss against Iraq in Round 3. Jordan scored 21 goals in Amman and conceded just eight. Their nine away games saw them pull off wins against Iraq and Singapore, battle to a brace of draws against Nepal and Uzbekistan, and succumb to five defeats - four of them in Round 4 of the qualifiers. They managed to score nine goals away from home while conceding 18, showing there was a huge gulf between their performances at home and abroad.
14 – The total number of goals scored by strike pairing Ahmad Ibrahim and Hassan Abdel Fattah. With seven goals apiece, the duo are in joint second place on the list of top Asian scorers behind Japan hitman Shinji Okazaki on eight. While Ibrahim featured in all 18 of his team’s encounters, Hassan Abdel Fattah could only manage ten, with injury ruling him out of some crucial games. Ibrahim wears No10 and plays for Kuwait club Al Arabi, while his team-mate in the No18 shirt ended his spell with Qatar’s Al Khor midway through last season (also due to injury) and returned to Al Wahdat in Jordan. Fattah played against Uzbekistan in the first match, helping set-up the first goal, but he didn't feature in the second match in Tashkent. And yesterday, Hossam chose not to bring Fattah into the squad for his team's preparations ahead of the play-off.
9 – The number of foreign-based players Hossam Hassan has included in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers. Five of these players ply their trade in Saudi Arabia: Shadi Abu Hashhash (Al Taawun), Abdullah Deeb (Al Orubah), Musab Al Lahham (Najran), Khalil Bani Ateyah (Al Faysali), and Mohammed Ali (Al Shoala). The remaining three, all of whom play in Kuwait, are Ahmad Ibrahim (Al Arabi), Odai Al Saify (Al Salmiya), and Saeed Murjan (Kazma). The final player is Thaer Al Bawab who plays in Europe with the Romanian team Gaz Metan. Thaer played in some of the qualifying matches and scored against Oman. The remainder of the squad all play for one of eight Jordanian sides, though it is interesting to note that the country’s two main clubs, Al Faysali and Al Wahdat, do not dominate the team sheet to the extent they did before the qualifiers kicked off two years ago.
7 – The number of squad members who have played more than 1,000 minutes during these Brazil 2014 qualifiers. Top of the list is Ahmad Ibrahim (1,506 minutes over 18 games), followed by goalkeeper Amer Sabbah (1,469 over 16), defender Anas Bani Yaseen (1,373 over 15), team captain and midfielder Amer Khalil (1,313 over 17), central defender Shadi Abu Hashhash (1,309 over 16), defender Basem Fathi (1,214 over 14), and midfielder Khalil Bani Ateyah (1,175 over 14). Four other players came close to breaking the barrier: striker Abdullah Deeb (985 minutes over 16 games), Baha Suleiman (904 over 11), Saeed Murjan (898 over 13), and Hassan Abdel Fattah (852 over 10).
2 – The number of coaches Jordan have had during the campaign. Fifty-two year-old Iraqi coach Adnan Hamad spent four years in charge of the national team, guiding them to the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup in 2011. He saw them through the lion’s share of the Brazil 2014 qualifiers too, securing Jordan a berth in Round 5 after their win over Oman took them to third place in Round 4’s Group B. When his contract came to end shortly afterwards, 47-year-old Egyptian Hossam Hassan stepped in to take the reins for Jordan’s two-leg play-off against Uzbekistan and their remaining Asian Cup qualifiers. This was the first time the star of Egypt’s Italy 1990 campaign had coached a national side, his only previous touchline experience coming with a number of Egyptian clubs. Since his appointment, however, he has been bullish about stamping his side’s ticket for Brazil 2014. Speaking about the upcoming games against Uruguay, Hossam said: “We’ve come this far and we’re optimistic we can make the Jordanian people’s dreams come true and get to the World Cup. We have done the first part of our job against Uzbekistan in the Asian play-offs and now we are looking to prepare well for Uruguay.”
1 – The number of red cards collected by the team over the course of their campaign, with forward Abdullah Deeb picking up the ultimate sanction in Jordan’s first encounter with Japan. Eighteen players shared the side’s tally of 37 yellow cards, with defender Anas Bani Yaseen collecting five, Basem Fathi and Amer Sabbah sharing second place with four, and Amer Khalil, Odai Al Saify and Khalil Bani Ateyah collecting three yellows each.