Jordan’s national soccer team coach Hussein Amuta explained the suspicion that he intentionally avoided Japan.
Jordan, which belongs to the same group as Korea at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation Qatar Asian Cup. Bahrain and Malaysia were also assigned to Group E. It has been expected that Korea, one of the favorites to win this year’s event and ranking third in Asia at 23rd in FIFA rankings, will easily rank No. 1 in the group, while Jordan will compete with Bahrain for No. 2.
As the group stage progressed, the result turned around. While Korea easily beat Bahrain 3-1 in the first match, Jordan got off to its first start with a 4-0 victory over underdog Malaysia. Jordan, which beat Korea 2-2 in the second match, scored the same point as Korea with one win and one draw, and gained the possibility to advance to the top of the group by leading in difference of gains and losses.
As the group stage ended in another group earlier, the opponent team in the round of 16 also became increasingly clear. Another contender, Japan, suffered a shock defeat by Iraq, causing a variable to rank second in the group with two wins and one loss. Japan’s opponent in the round of 16 was a country that advanced to the top of the group in Group E, and tilted towards a scenario where Korea or Jordan could become the next team.
The third match, which started against Bahrain, turned upside down. Bahrain started to lead the team with the first goal in the 34th minute of the first half. The same was true in the match between Korea and Malaysia. As Malaysia successfully turned the tables in the second half, its ranking in Group E went up and down in real time. Jordan briefly moved to second place as Korea fell to third place, but as Korea and Malaysia tied 3-3, Bahrain made the top four teams, with Korea ranking first, Korea second, and Jordan third, making it to the round of 16.
Korea was under immense criticism for its disappointing performance. When Korea advanced to the round of 16 as the second runner-up in the group, it was suspected that Korea was trying to avoid Japan on purpose. Asked if he intended to avoid Japan after the match, Jürgen Klinsmann replied, “No way.”
The same was true for Jordan. As there were four players who were given yellow cards, they started rotation and lost to Bahrain. They ended up in the top four teams that ranked third and encountered Iraq in the round of 16. After the match, Amuta was asked if he was afraid to face off against Japan. “I am not afraid of anyone. I respect Japan and all other teams. The important thing is that our concentration and preparedness are at their peak,” Amuta said in the Bahraini media Al-Watan.