Jordan's players run during a training session at King Abdullah stadium before their World Cup qualifying soccer match against Uzbekistan, which will be held on Friday, in Amman September 5, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
All eyes will be on Mexico and New Zealand on Tuesday, but of equal interest will be the fates of Uruguay and Jordan when the two sides face off in their two-legged playoff game.
The South American contingent, which includes the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, is undoubtedly the favorite heading into the game. The main question of this match is: does Jordan have a chance to win?
"Our main weapon will be our motivation against prestigious opponents who have won the World Cup and are among the best teams in the world," Said Abdullah Deeb Salim, according to Euro Sport. "All the players selected by the coach for these two matches will give their all. We have to believe because everything is possible in football."
"Nothing is impossible in football, and we have the right to dream," added Jordan midfielder Baha Suleiman.
The team has overcome tremendous adversity, including a 6-0 loss to Japan at the start of the qualifying round before turning things around and taking down Japan, Australia and finally Uzbekistan on the way to qualifying for these rounds. Uruguay may have also overcome its own poor play throughout 2012-13, but no one is overlooking Jordan's own struggles to get where it has.
"If Jordan gives everything it's got in its status as home team, it will make it hard for us, and I'm not being pessimistic or cautious," Uruguay Coach Oscar Tabarez said, according to Business Standard.
Jordan is not as talented as Uruguay and is nowhere near the soccer power of its South American rivals. However, the team does have two distinct advantages that should help it win this playoff.
First: pressure. Jordan's players will obviously claim that they feel a great deal of pressure to succeed but they also know that a loss will not be looked down upon. Afterall, Uruguay has a huge advantage from a talent standpoint. However, this is a double-edged sword for the Celestes. Because they are the favorites, they are expected to win. That could create a bit of tension with the team if anything goes wrong and also create a loss of concentration and mistakes that could wind up in the back of the net.
Throw in Jordan's second advantage and this should be a winnable match for Jordan. What is that second advantage? Home field in the first leg. If this game were played in Montevideo, then Jordan would be baptized by the fire of a hostile environment in their opening game. Instead the team has its fans there to add support it and give it the lift it needs. Uruguay, which already carries the burden of extra pressure, is entering a stadium that will jeer and boo them into submission if possible. This certainly helps give Jordan the advantage in the opener.