Australia vs Jordan
Competition: AFC Asian Cup
Date: 6 January 2019
Kick-off: 12:00 CET
“In the short amount of time I have had in charge, I feel that we have come a long way, and we will travel to the UAE expecting to win every match and ultimately lift the trophy in early February in Abu Dhabi”. That’s how confident Graham Arnold looked a couple of weeks ago, after announcing the names of his 23 chosen ones. Only time will tell if his confidence was/is well-based. Australia are without Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak, two icons of football in the country, who were fundamental in winning the Asian Cup four years ago, but have since retired from international football. Another key man in 2015, FC Luzern center-forward Tomi Juric was left out, troubled by injuries and lack of goals in recent times. Huddersfield Town central midfielder Aaron Mooy is injured, so is Celtic winger Daniel Arzani, as well as Hibernian winger Martin Boyle. All three would be in the 23-man squad, if available. Actually, Boyle got substituted just a few days ago, by AEK Larnaca center-forward, Apostolos Giannou. Last, Mathew Leckie is in the UAE, but he’s not expected to be involved in the group stage, at least in the first two matches, still troubled by an injury. It goes without writing, another massive difference between this team and the one that lifted the trophy four years ago in Sydney, is the man in charge, standing on the sideline; Ange Postecoglou, the man who led the team to their biggest success ever in the previous edition of the tournament, left, soon after securing them a ticket to the 2018 World Cup finals. His successor, Bert van Marwijk, impressed no one, and Arnold took over right after the finals, in July.
Keep this name in mind: Musa Al Taamari. Winger/attacking midfielder, 21, playing for APOEL, in Cyprus, where he has already scored seven goals in 11 league matches this season, as well as one in the 90 minutes of a Cyprus Cup game. He has started in all 12, and been substituted just once. He didn’t manage to score in APOEL’s eight Champions League (qualifiers) and Europa League matches, but he did score six goals in seven games last year, in the AFC Cup, wearing Al Jazeera’s jersey. He also scored a few days ago, in Jordan’s friendly game against China, in Doha. Coming from Jordan, he gets less publicity than players from other, bigger and stronger (football-wise) countries, but I really think that if he’s given the chance by his coach, Vital Borkelmans, he could be one of the… revelations of this tournament. The Belgian took over back in May. Jordan won their first friendly match under him (3-0 over Cyprus), but have since celebrated just one more victory, in a total of nine friendly games.
Previous five matches:
Australia vs Oman 5-0
Australia vs Lebanon 3-0
Australia vs South Korea 1-1
Kuwait vs Australia 0-4
Australia vs Peru 0-2
Jordan vs China 1-1
Qatar vs Jordan 2-0
Jordan vs Kyrgyzstan 0-1
Jordan vs Saudi Arabia 1-1
Jordan vs India 2-1
Australia’s next game is Friday, against Palestine. A day earlier, Jordan will have faced Syria.
Australia vs Jordan: Head to head Stats
Australia have beaten Jordan both times they hosted them, lost both times they visited them, but have never played against them on neutral ground. Total goals thus far, in those four matches, 10-5 for the Aussies.
Australia vs Jordan: Prediction
Australia have looked very… serious, focused, in all four friendly matches they played after the World Cup finals. Jordan on the other hand, have left a lot to be desired. The Aussies should win the game, despite their obligatory absences due to injuries.
Australia vs Jordan: Betting Tips
A simple Australia win pays just 1.36. Combined with a clean sheet, that goes up to a satisfying 2.00. The Aussies have looked great defensively these last months, while Jordan scored just one goal in three friendlies in December.