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Jordan can surprise Australia in Asian Cup opener - Vital Borkelmans

Jordan coach Vital Borkelmans believes his team have what it takes to defeat Australia in the opening game of the 2019 Asian Cup.

The former assistant to Marc Wilmots with the Belgium national team from 2012 to 2016, became head coach in September and his first competitive international will be against the Socceroos on Jan. 6 in Al Ain.

"The first game is tough for both teams," Borkelmans told ESPN. "In these games everyone is looking around and is afraid to lose as well.

"We don't want to make many mistakes. This game is very important for us as we'll look to get the points to get to the next round."

Taking on the defending champions could give Jordan, ranked 110 in the world by FIFA, confidence in subsequent games against Syria and Palestine.

"We could surprise Australia," the 55-year-old, who spent much of his playing career at Club Brugge, insisted.

"They are ranked higher than us. They have confidence and they are physical but we can surprise them. We will be ready. I have three months working on the physical, mental side and have the right system."

The former defender is happy that the defending champions will be without Tim Cahill, who played his last game for the Socceroos at the 2018 World Cup.

"They don't have Cahill any more and he is a great player and has scored at World Cups," he said. "But we don't worry about the other team but we look to our squad. We have to be organised."

In order to prepare for the Asian Cup, Jordan, who reached the last eight in 2004 and 2011, will take on Albania on Thursday, four days before a glamour game against 2018 World Cup finalist Croatia.

"How many players can say they will play against [Luka] Modric and [Ivan] Rakitic?" Borkelmans asked.

"Some players dream about this but I said to the players that this is a reality for them. I hope we get a good result but Croatia are very good.

"We have to be at our best. We need to make a system. The people here are very nice but you know, we also have a tough game in Albania.

"This will be a great experience for my players."

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