AMMAN, Jordan — Uruguay looks almost certain to qualify for the 2014 World Cup after crushing Jordan 5-0 in Amman on Wednesday in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff.
Goals from Maxi Pereira, Cristian Stuani, Nicolas Lodeiro, Cristian Rodriguez and Edinson Cavani have put Uruguay firmly in control ahead of the second leg in Montevideo next week.
Luis Suarez set up Pereira’s 22nd minute opener, and Stuani made it 2-0 just before halftime.
Jordan had long spells of possession in the second half but was vulnerable on the counter-attack. Lodeiro slotted in from the edge of the box in the 69th minute and an unmarked Rodriguez hit a crisp volley from close range in the 78th.
Cavani steered a free kick into the top right corner of the net in stoppage time as victory turned into a rout.
“This result will put us in a good position for the second leg,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. “We will play with the same formation to honor the Uruguayan fans who will fill the stadium next Wednesday, as I heard that 60,000 tickets were sold.”
Jordan’s Egyptian coach Hossam Hassan said he was “fully responsible for this result” and “satisfied with the performance of my players.”
“I wished the Jordanian fans had seen their team win, but this is what happened,” Hassan added. He said the squad would leave for Uruguay on Thursday.
Pereira pounced to open the scoring after a header by Cavani was parried by Jordan goalkeeper Mohammad Shatnawi and Stuani made it 2-0 after collecting a pass from Lodeiro.
Jordan showed more determination in the second half, with its best chance falling to Adnan Hasan, whose effort flew past the post.
But Jordan’s defense proved helpless as Lodeiro increased Uruguay’s lead, Rodriguez fired in the fourth and Cavani completed the rout with a free kick that left Shatnawi rooted to the spot.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II and members of his royal family were among the 25,000 spectators at the Amman International Stadium.
Their national team has never reached the World Cup and struggled on Wednesday to compete against Uruguay, a semifinalist at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that finished fifth in South American qualifying.
The defeat followed extensive preparations in Jordan for the game. The king donated $500,000 toward the cost of the team’s preparations, while Jordan Television held a one-day telethon that raised $2.8 million.
The fever also spread to the UAE where Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya offered a private plane to fly the Jordan team to Uruguay for the second leg.
Security was tightened for the match in Amman, where traffic was diverted away from the stadium, causing suffocating jams. Cars honking horns, despite the heavy defeat, were draped with the Jordanian flag and portraits of their players.
Tickets for the match were sold at five times their face value on the black market.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.